According to excerpts released by the White House ahead of the speech, Mr. Biden will say he inherited the pandemic, an economic crisis and the “worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.”
“Now—after just 100 days—I can report to the nation: America is on the move again,” Mr. Biden is expected to say. ” Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength.”
Mr. Biden is also expected to endorse ongoing bipartisan talks on police reform, renew his call to ban assault weapons and talk about revamping the nation’s immigraiton system.
Ahead of the speech, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Mr. Biden was “feeling good” and was resting his voice.
A White House official confirmed on Wednesday that following the speech before the joint session, Mr. Biden will meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on May 12.
While having the hallmarks of a State of the Union address, the speech before a joint session of Congress in a president’s first term is not referred to as a State of the Union because it is more forward-looking than that address is.
There will be other differences between this address before the joint session and a traditional one. Instead of the normal 1,600 attendees that include all 435 members of Congress, all the Supreme Court justices, Cabinet members and guests, there are only 200 people attending. The speech is invite-only, with Democrats holding a lottery for who will attend.
There also was no designated survivor established by the White House, since most members of the Cabinet will be watching from their home or their offices. Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Patrick Leahy and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are all expected to attend, so the person highest in the line of succession who will not be there is Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
For the first time, the White House is offering an American Sign Language interpretation for the speech. CBSN will stream the ASL interpretation here.
Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina will deliver the GOP rebuttal.