02 Mar March Outlook 2022
As the nation of Ukraine is ravaged by war, President Biden will deliver his first official State of the Union address to both chambers of Congress this evening. Presidents notoriously use the State of the Union address to heavily tout their accomplishments and detail their priorities for the coming year. We expect President Biden to stick to this historical precedent and discuss some of his victories, such as passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Package, the American Rescue Plan, and the strength of the labor market. However, with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, he also is expected to heavily discuss what some have said could be the dawn of a new Cold War, as well as 39-year high inflation, the COVID-19 pandemic, and clean energy and manufacturing. Over the past few months, objections from some Democrats have put President Biden’s domestic agenda at risk, so we may see him use this prime-time address to renew calls for big-ticket Democratic priorities, such as comprehensive voting rights legislation and parts of the Build Back Better Act. All these issues are set against the backdrop of a looming midterm election and low approval ratings for the Administration, setting the stage for a dynamic and consequential first State of the Union address for President Biden. All 535 Members of Congress are invited to attend compared to the only 200 attendees in last year’s address to Congress. This is still substantially lower than the typical 1,600 in-person guests but implies the White House is shifting toward lesser COVID-19 restrictions.