WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday invited President Biden to ship the State of the Union handle to Congress on March 1 because the White Home grapples with an evolving pandemic and appears for methods to regain momentum for a legislative agenda caught in congressional gridlock.
Mr. Biden accepted Ms. Pelosi’s invitation, the White Home mentioned.
The date is later than is conventional — the handle would be the first to be delivered in March — however it provides Mr. Biden extra time to attempt to advance his home coverage package deal, which has been hung up within the Senate due to the objections of a single Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia. The president can be struggling to cross federal voting rights laws that might counter restrictions put in place by Republicans in some states.
Mr. Biden is probably going to make use of the handle to advertise the positive aspects of his administration, together with the passage of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package deal and the $1.9 trillion coronavirus reduction package deal final yr.
It’s unclear how the surging Omicron variant would possibly have an effect on this yr’s State of the Union. Mr. Biden’s first handle to Congress final yr, which was not technically a State of the Union handle, was made below the cloud of the pandemic.
The president spoke to a socially distanced viewers of fewer than 200 officers, a small fraction of the packed crowd of lawmakers that’s usually current for the speech. Those that have been allowed to attend have been instructed to put on masks, they usually sat with a number of empty seats separating them from different viewers members.
Mr. Biden has suffered from low approval rankings pushed by rising inflation and a persistent pandemic, and he’s in want of legislative victories. Economists are bracing for the present surge in virus instances to additional disrupt job progress after the Labor Division reported on Friday that america added solely 199,000 jobs in December, the smallest month-to-month achieve of 2021.
However the president has didn’t sway the one Democratic holdout, Mr. Manchin, to vote for his $1.7 trillion social security internet, local weather and tax package deal.
Mr. Manchin and one other centrist Democrat, Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have additionally resisted an intensified push by fellow Democrats to vary the Senate’s filibuster guidelines in order that the social gathering can muscle by way of the stalled voting rights measures over Republican opposition.