President Joe Biden has accepted an invitation from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to deliver a State of the Union address before Congress on Tuesday, Feb. 7, the White House said Friday.
“The president has accepted it and looks forward to delivering the State of the Union address,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in an afternoon press briefing. “We truly appreciate the kind invitation by Speaker McCarthy.”
It will be Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress since Republicans took control of the House chamber.
McCarthy tweeted out a copy of the letter in which he offered a date for Biden to speak in the House chamber, noting that it’s his “solemn obligation” as speaker.
“The American people sent us to Washington to deliver a new direction for the country, to find common ground, and to debate their priorities,” McCarthy said. “In that spirit, it is my solemn obligation to invite you to speak before a Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday, February 7, 2023 so that you may fulfill your duty under the Constitution to report on the state of the union. Your remarks will inform our efforts to address the priorities of the American people.”
The tone marked a sharp contrast from Biden’s State of the Union invitation last year from former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“Thank you for your bold vision and patriotic leadership which have guided America out of crisis and into an era of great progress, as we not only recover from the pandemic but Build Back Better!” Pelosi wrote in a letter last year. “In that spirit, I am writing to invite you to address a Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday, March 1, to share your vision of the State of the Union.”
Earlier this week, McCarthy said Congress “has to investigate” the potential mishandling of classified documents by Biden from his time as vice president, which came to light this week.
“We don’t think there needs to be a special prosecutor, but I think Congress has a role,” McCarthy said Thursday.
Biden’s State of the Union address last year came in the days after Russia launched its war in Ukraine and as the U.S. entered its third year of the COVID pandemic. He focused on how his administration was combatting rising inflation and executing what he called “a unity agenda for the nation.”