- The Washington Times - Monday, February 28, 2022

President Biden’s State of the Union address will take an optimistic tone, laying out his vision for improving the U.S. economy and lowering prices for Americans, a senior administration official told reporters Monday.

Mr. Biden will zero in on four themes during his speech: strengthening the supply chain, reducing expenses for working families, promoting competition to protect consumers, and improving the labor market, the official said.

“The president is going to speak directly to the American people about the progress we’ve made in the last year in the face of deep challenges, and he’ll talk about his optimism for the future,” the official said. “He’ll remind the country that our best days lie ahead.”

The nationally televised address is scheduled for 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Mr. Biden’s first State of the Union speech comes amid a turbulent year for the president. Inflation is surging at levels not seen in 40 years, a war is raging in Ukraine, COVID-19 variants set back national progress and the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan are among the crises in his first year.

He also failed to make progress on key domestic issues. His economic and climate agenda stalled after Senate Democrats were unable to reach an agreement on the plan. That’s even after the president has jettisoned or scaled back some of its proposals, like free community college.

The challenges have taken a toll on Mr. Biden’s approval rating, which is mired below 40%. An ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday found Mr. Biden has a 37% approval rating, a 4-point dip from 41% in November.

Still, Mr. Biden will emphasize that he’s made progress on his economic goals, a White House aide said.

Mr. Biden will outline ways to reduce costs for consumers by proposing more goods will be made in America, lowering shipping costs, and creating new jobs.

He will also call on Congress to draft legislation aimed at lowering costs on goods ranging from prescription drugs and energy to child care and school expenses. Mr. Biden will urge lawmakers to reduce the cost of care for seniors and those with disabilities.

The president will also highlight the role of organized labor in the economy, calling on Congress to pass legislation that will make it easier for workers to unionize. Mr. Biden has frequently bragged that his administration is the most pro-union in recent history.

As part of his push to strengthen workers, Mr. Biden will demand Congress raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. 

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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