In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Joe Biden is expected to call on lawmakers to help advance his “Unity Agenda” he unveiled last year, according to the White House.

In his speech last year, the president outlined four areas where both Democrats and Republicans can come together on: beating cancer, addressing the mental health crisis, tackling the opioid epidemic and supporting our nation’s veterans.

What You Need To Know

  • In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Joe Biden is expected to call on lawmakers to help advance his “Unity Agenda” he unveiled last year, according to the White House

  • Biden last year outlined four areas where both Democrats and Republicans can come together on: beating cancer, addressing the mental health crisis, tackling the opioid epidemic and supporting our nation’s veterans

  • The president is expected to devote much of his speech to touting his efforts to create jobs, fight inflation and improve the country's infrastructure

  • Biden’s remarks from the House rostrum will take place in a sharply different context from a year ago: Republicans now control the chamber, rendering it unlikely that any significant legislation reaches Biden’s desk

  • Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Arizona Rep. Juan Ciscomani will deliver Republican rebuttals to President Biden’s address

President Biden on Tuesday evening will announce a new set of policies to advance those goals, which enjoy bipartisan support and could advance through a divided Congress. His speech to both chambers of Congress on Tuesday evening will be the first of his term where one is under Republican control.

"To my Republican friends, if we could work together in the last Congress, there is no reason we can’t work together in this new Congress," he plans to say, according to excerpts of the speech released by the White House.

"The people sent us a clear message," he'll say, appearing to reference the midterm elections. "Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict, gets us nowhere. And that’s always been my vision for the country: to restore the soul of the nation, to rebuild the backbone of America: the middle class, to unite the country. We’ve been sent here to finish the job!"

Biden was also expected to devote much of his speech to highlighting his efforts over the past two years to create jobs, fight inflation and improve the nation’s infrastructure. The speech comes as Biden is honing his pitch to voters ahead of his expected announcement in the next few months that he will seek another term in office despite voter frustrations about the direction of the nation.

Biden will draw a contrast between where the country was two years ago, and today.

"The story of America is a story of progress and resilience," he'll say.

Two years ago our economy was reeling. As I stand here tonight, we have created a record 12 million new jobs," he plans to add, also pointing to the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, where he will stand Tuesday evening: "Two years ago, our democracy faced its greatest threat since the Civil War. Today, though bruised, our democracy remains unbowed and unbroken."

In part, Biden on Tuesday will call on Congress to reauthorize the National Cancer Act, the 1971 bill signed into law by then-President Richard Nixon which established the National Cancer Institute. The White House says reupping the law "will update the nation’s cancer research and care systems to put modern American innovation fully to work to end cancer as we know it."

To address the opioid crisis, President Biden is set to announce new efforts to disrupt the flow of fentanyl into the country, including providing more than scanners at points of entry along the southwest border, new partnerships to stop fentanyl from getting into the country via mail and a new international effort to address the substance's supply chain abroad.

Biden will also pledge to work with Congress to enact stricter penalties on suppliers of fentanyl, including closing the "fentanyl related substances" loophole and permanently scheduling all such substances as a Schedule I drug. The president will also tout efforts to expand access to Americans to harm reduction, treatment and recovery, including giving more naloxone – the life-saving medication that can help reverse opioid overdoses – to communities hit hard by fentanyl.

The president is also set to call for bipartisan support on a number of key items to address the country's mental health crisis, including imposing limits on the personal data that tech companies collect from Americans, banning targeted advertising online for children and young people and enacting strong protections for kids' health and safety online.

Biden will also announce new efforts from his administration to tackle mental health, including a new campaign from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce burnout in the medical profession, more than $280 million in new grants from the Department of Education to improve school-based mental health programs and expand access to telehealth.

In terms of supporting veterans, which Biden calls the country's "sacred obligation," the president will announce a new $10 million to provide federal resources for states, territories, Tribes and Tribal organizations to develop and implement proposals to reduce veteran suicides, as well as funding in his new budget to triple the number of veterans who can access rent assistance to reduce homelessness.

The president, meanwhile, is also shifting his focus from legislating to implementing the massive infrastructure and climate bills passed in the last Congress — and to trying to make sure Americans credit him for the improvements.

The president will send a message to Americans who feel "forgotten" or "left behind" amid "economic upheaval" of the last few years.

"Maybe that’s you watching at home. You remember the jobs that went away. And you wonder whether a path even exists anymore for you and your children to get ahead without moving away," he plans to say.

"I get it. That’s why we’re building an economy where no one is left behind. Jobs are coming back, pride is coming back because of the choices we made in the last two years."

His cabinet officials were front and center early this week to preview the message.

“These things don’t sell themselves,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Sunday on NBC. “And it’s one of the reasons I’m really looking forward to that State of the Union address. I will say that there have been so many accomplishments under this administration. It can be difficult to list them in a distilled way.”

National Economic Council director Brian Deese on Monday acknowledged there was need for more progress, but he urged a positive outlook about improvements like lowering inflation.

“People should feel optimism that – because of what we have seen and because of the progress that we've made – that we know how to keep making progress going forward,” he said at the White House briefing

Deese added that Americans this year could see the most significant impact yet from the administration’s semiconductor, infrastructure and clean energy laws passed in the last few years.

“More and more communities are going to see economic opportunity and more durable economic opportunity,” he said. “This is the year of action.”

Biden's address last year came just days after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine and many in the West doubted Kyiv’s ability to avoid a swift routing. Now the war is on the cusp of entering its second year, and under Biden the U.S. and allies have sent tens of billions of dollars in military and economic assistance to bolster Ukraine’s defenses. Now the president must make the case — both at home and abroad — for sustaining that coalition as the war drags on.

Meanwhile, inflation, which rose precipitously last year in part because of soaring energy prices from the war, has begun to ease.

Still, only a quarter of U.S. adults say things in the country are headed in the right direction, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research; about three-quarters say things are on the wrong track.

Similarly, views of the national economy remain deeply negative, with 24% calling the national economy good and 76% calling it poor. Forty-one percent of Democrats and 8% of Republicans call the economy good. The figures are similar to when Biden delivered his State of the Union address last year, but an adjustment from Biden’s first year in office when Americans were more optimistic; about half said they thought the country was headed in the right direction when the president took office.

At the same time, 57% say their personal financial situation is good. That’s unchanged since December but has eroded slightly since earlier last year. No less than 62% of Americans had called their personal financial situation good in AP-NORC polls conducted from late 2019 through spring of 2022.

Two years after Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol by pro-Trump rioters, a protective fence was reinstalled Sunday around the Capitol ahead of Biden’s address.

After the speech, Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and his Cabinet plan to hold over 30 events in two days to drive the message home to the American people in their communities. Biden will visit Wisconsin to discuss job creation on Wednesday and on Thursday will be in Tampa, Florida to talk about his efforts to lower prescription drug costs and protect Social Security and Medicare.

“The economic travel blitz showcases how the president’s vision is creating jobs, rebuilding our infrastructure, lowering costs for families, tackling climate change, investing in our future and delivering for families too often left behind," the White House said.

The travel follows Biden’s stops last week in Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia focused on rail and water infrastructure projects funded by the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law.

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who rose to prominence during the Trump administration as White House press secretary, and Arizona Rep. Juan Ciscomani, a freshman member of Congress, will deliver Republican rebuttals to President Biden’s address on Tuesday.