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Biden uses State of the Union to push "unity agenda" and says Russia will pay "high price" for Ukraine invasion

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Special Report: President Biden's 2022 State of the Union address 02:26:50

In a State of the Union speech that brought both houses of Congress back to the Capitol, President Biden emphasized what unites the country while trying to reassure Americans worried about the Ukraine crisis, inflation and gas prices that "we are going to be OK." 

But it wasn't all unity and bipartisan support: Mr. Biden acknowledged that inflation is "robbing" Americans of economic gains. He also pushed his domestic policy agenda, saying Congress needed to pass key pieces of his Build Back Better agenda. He did not use the words "Build Back Better" together, since the plan has been stalled in the Senate. 

Mr. Biden dedicated the early part of his speech to showing support for Ukraine and condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin. He noted the Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S., a guest of the first lady, who received a standing ovation. Many members of Congress wore blue and yellow in support of Ukraine. 

"Putin has unleashed violence and chaos," Mr. Biden said. "But while he may make gains on the battlefield – he will pay a continuing high price over the long run." 

President Biden delivers his State of the Union address on March 1, 2022. CBS News

Mr. Biden said the U.S. will join European allies in closing airspace to Russian planes. Additionally, he announced 30 million barrels of oil will be released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

"These steps will help blunt gas prices here at home. And I know the news about what's happening can seem alarming, but I want you to know that we are going to be OK," he said.

The full chamber – where members were not required to wear masks – stood in stark contrast to last year's address. But members of Congress still did not bring guests, and attendees were seated with space between them. Mr. Biden kicked off the speech saying, "Last year COVID-19 kept us apart. This year we are finally together again." 

Later in the speech, he said America had "reached a new moment in the fight against COVID-19, with severe cases down to a level not seen since last July." He announced the U.S. will be launching a "test to treat" plan and will provide free antiviral pills at pharmacies for people who test positive for COVID-19.

He announced an "unity agenda for the nation" with four parts: beating the opioid epidemic; tackling mental health; supporting veterans and ending cancer. He also spoke of a cause that is very personal to him: burn pits that cause cancer in veterans, which he said may have caused his son Beau's deadly cancer. 

In sticking with unity, Mr. Biden did not mention one of the issues that has largely divided Democrats and Republicans: The January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. 

A CBS News poll released Tuesday found that Mr. Biden's approval rating remained at 44%, a one point increase from last week but the same as his approval rating in January and November CBS News polls. 

The president's approval rating started to fall last summer during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and fell even further as inflation became a bigger issue. 

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds delivered the GOP response. Reynolds, who was one of the first governors to open schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, issued a stern message that will likely be repeated by Republicans throughout the 2022 midterms: "Republicans believe that parents matter."

Read CBS News' fact-check of the State of the Union here.  


CBS News Poll: Speech watchers say Biden's policies will deal with Russia effectively

Viewers wanted to hear President Biden talk about Russia's invasion of Ukraine and he did. On Tuesday night, most Americans who watched the speech came away feeling the president's policies will deal with Russia effectively. 

CBS News interviewed speech watchers immediately after the address.


One the domestic front, many of the policies the president presented were received positively by speech viewers — more than 6 in 10 who watched said they feel Mr. Biden's policies will help lower inflation, up from 48% who felt that way before the speech. 


Overall, about 8 in 10 of speech watchers approved of Mr. Biden's address.


As we've seen with previous presidents' State of the Union speeches, those who watched on Tuesday are more likely to be from the president's own political party, boosting approval of the speech. In the latest CBS national poll released earlier this week, 34% of Americans identified themselves as Democrats. Among those who watched the speech, that percentage was 49%.

Read the full story here.

By Jennifer De Pinto

Biden arrives back at White House

President Biden arrived back at the White House at 10:52 p.m.

By Kathryn Watson

Iowa governor in GOP response says Biden has sent U.S. back in time

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds delivered the Republican response to President Biden's address, criticizing the Biden administration on crime, inflation, and Russia's place in the world, saying it feels like the U.S. has reverted to the late 70s and early 80s. Reynolds said she's "worried our country is on the wrong track," and the president's approach has been "too little, too late." 

"Instead of moving America forward, it feels like President Biden and his party have sent us back in time to the late '70s and early '80s, when runaway inflation was hammering families, a violent crime wave was crashing on our cities, and the Soviet army was trying to redraw the world map," she said. 

The Republican Party's selection of a person to deliver the GOP response is always closely watched, often signaling where the party wants to go and potentially, identifying someone the party sees as an up-and-coming leader. Reynolds, a grandmother of 11 and Iowa's first female governor, has been in office since 2017.  

By Kathryn Watson

Biden concludes with declaration the "state of the union is strong"

Mr. Biden ended his speech of just over one hour with a pronouncement that the state of the nation is "strong" and encouragement that Americans, while confronting a test of "resolve and conscience, of history itself," will meet it.

"It is in this moment that our character of this generation is formed. Our purpose is found. Our future is forged," he said. "Well I know this nation. We will meet the test. Protect freedom and liberty, expand fairness and opportunity, and we will save democracy."

The president encouraged unity among the American people as it emerges from a global pandemic that has stretched into a third year and projected optimism about the future.

"The only nation that can be defined by a single word: possibilities. So on this night, on our 245th year as a nation, I have come to report on the State of the Union. And my report is this: the State of the Union is strong because you, the American people, are strong," he said. "We are stronger today than we were a year ago. And we will be stronger a year from now than we are today." 

Mr. Biden continued, "Now is our moment to meet and overcome the challenges of our time. And we will, as one people. One America. The United States of America."

The president ended his remarks with "Go get 'em."

By Melissa Quinn

Biden introduces "unity agenda"

Biden offers bipartisan "Unity Agenda" in State of the Union address 08:27

The president next introduced what he described as his "unity agenda," with four parts. 

"A unity agenda for the nation. We can do these things. It's within our power. And I don't see a partisan edge to any one of those four things," he said. 

  1. Beat the opioid epidemic

  2. Tackle mental health

  3. Support veterans

  4. End cancer as we know it 

First, the president said the U.S. can increase funding for prevention, treatment, harm reduction and recovery for those struggling with addition. That entails getting rid of rules that stop doctors from prescribing treatments, and stopping the flow of illicit drugs, he said. 

Mr. Biden particularly honed in on children as he addressed mental health, saying the U.S. must hold social media platforms accountable for the "experiment" they're conducting on children for profit. 

The president announced his administration is expanding eligibility to veterans suffering from nine various respiratory cancers, cancers that came after toxic exposure. 

Mr. Biden said the United States' goal is to cut the cancer death rate by at least 50% over the next 25 years, adding he thinks they can do better than that. 

By Kathryn Watson

Biden briefly urges Congress to pass voting access legislation

Mr. Biden yet again pressed Congress to pass the voting rights and access bills before them. 

He said that new laws in some states are trying to not only suppress the vote, but subvert entire elections.

"Tonight. I call on the Senate to pass, pass the Freedom to Vote Act. Pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. And while you're at it, pass the Disclose Act so Americans can know who's funding our elections," he said. 

By Kathryn Watson

Biden: "The answer is not to defund the police"

The president highlighted the efforts his administration has taken to combat violent crime and ensure more law enforcement accountability, and advocated for directing more funding toward law enforcement for resources and training. 

"Let's not abandon our streets. Or choose between safety and equal justice," he said. "Let's come together and protect our communities, restore trust, and hold law enforcement accountable."

Mr. Biden noted that after taking office, the Justice Department required body cameras, banned chokeholds and restricted the use of no-knock warrants for federal law enforcement. He also spotlighted the American Rescue Plan, which provided $350 billion for state and local governments to hire more police and invest in strategies to combat violent crime.

"We should all agree: The answer is not to Defund the police. It's to fund the police, fund them," he said. "Fund them with the resources and training they need to protect our communities."

Mr. Biden's support for providing more funding for law enforcement earned him a standing ovation from Republicans in attendance.

The president went on to call on Congress to pass more stringent gun laws, including universal background checks.

"Why should anyone on a terrorist list be able to purchase a weapon? Why? Why?" he said.

Such measures, Mr. Biden said, "don't infringe on the Second Amendment. They save lives."

By Melissa Quinn

Biden: "We've reached a new moment in the fight against COVID-19"

Mr. Biden declared a new moment in the battle against COVID-19, nearly two years after the pandemic changed the nation and the world.

"We've reached a new moment in the fight against COVID-19, with severe cases down to a level not seen since last July," Mr. Biden said. 

The president noted the new Centers for Disease Control guidance that lowered the threshold for masking guidance. Now, the majority of the country, including Washington, D.C., is no longer under indoor masking guidance. 

Still, the president said the U.S. is "leaving no one behind" or ignoring anyone's needs, noting that some are immunocompromised, and children under 5 still don't have an approved vaccine. 

"I know some are talking about 'living with COVID-19.' Tonight – I say that we will never just accept living with COVID-19," the president said. 

Mr. Biden also touted how the U.S. has shared vaccines with the world, more so than any other nation on earth. Amid the partisan divides over COVID-19, the president urged Americans to unite. 

"Let's stop seeing each other as enemies, and start seeing each other for who we are — fellow Americans," he said. 

By Kathryn Watson

Biden gives Congress to-do list: Pass paid leave, extend child tax credit and raise minimum wage to $15 an hour

In pushing his economic plan, Mr. Biden encouraged the Senate to confirm his nominees to the Federal Reserve and knocked the Trump administration for adding to the deficit with the 2017 tax reform package and undermining watchdogs designed to combat waste and fraud in federal pandemic relief programs.

"We're going after the criminals who stole billions in relief money meant for small businesses and millions of Americans," he said.

Mr. Biden announced the Justice Department will be appointing a chief prosecutor for pandemic fraud and pledged that by the end of 2022, the deficit will be down to less than half what it was before he took office.

"I'm a capitalist, but capitalism without competition isn't capitalism," he said. "It's exploitation, and it drives up prices."

The president also said his administration will be cracking down on foreign-owned companies overcharging U.S. businesses and consumers. 

Mr. Biden went on to urge Congress to pass a paid leave program, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and extend the child tax credit, which expired at the end of 2021.

He also pushed lawmakers to increase Pell grants, boost support of historically Black colleges and universities and invest in community colleges. Lastly, Mr. Biden said lawmakers should pass legislation making it easier for workers to unionize.

"When we invest in our workers, when we build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out together, we can do something we haven't done in a long time: build a better America," he said.

By Melissa Quinn

Biden urges Congress to pass domestic agenda, including paid leave and the Child Care Tax credit

The president urged Congress to pass key pieces of his Build Back Better agenda, but without using the words "Build Back Better" together, since the plan has been stalled in the Senate. 

He asked Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, and paid leave, as well as cut the cost of childcare. Families pay up to $14,000 for child care per child, he said. 

He also urged Congress to pass a $15-an-hour minimum wage, extend the expanded Child Care Tax credit that expired, and provide free pre-K for 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds. 

Those are all policies that were included in the Build Back Better Act that stalled in the Senate over pushback from moderate Democrats. 

"My plan will not only lower costs to give families a fair shot, it will lower the deficit," he said. 

By Kathryn Watson

Biden acknowledges inflation is "robbing" Americans of economic gains

Biden outlines his plan to fight inflation in State of the Union address 09:36

Mr. Biden urged Congress to pass the Bipartisan Innovation Act, which he said will lead to "record investments" in emerging technologies and American manufacturing.

The president spotlighted the CEO of Intel, Pat Gelssinger, who is in attendance, and the semiconductor "mega site" the company is poised to build in Ohio.

"Some of the most sophisticated manufacturing in the world to make computer chips the size of a fingertip that power the world and our everyday lives," he said. "Smartphones. The Internet. Technology we have yet to invent. But that's just the beginning."

The president also touted decisions by companies to build new companies in the U.S., including Ford and GM, but encouraged more companies to move their manufacturing back to the U.S. as a way to lower consumer prices.

"With all the bright spots in our economy, record job growth and higher wages, too many families are struggling to keep up with the bills," he said. "Inflation is robbing them of the gains they might otherwise feel."

Mr. Biden said that one way to combat inflation is to drive wages down. But another, he said, is to "lower your cost, not your wages."

"Make more cars and semiconductors in America. More infrastructure and innovation in America. More goods moving faster and cheaper in America. More jobs where you can earn a good living in America," he said. "And instead of relying on foreign supply chains, let's make it in America."

By Melissa Quinn

Biden touts American Rescue Plan, economic growth and infrastructure investments

After focusing the first part of his speech on the conflict in Ukraine, President Biden shifted to domestic policies at home. The economy created over 6.5 million new jobs in 2021, he touted, more jobs than ever before in the country's history. 

The president also touted the American Rescue Plan, which infused money into the economy, even though Republicans have blamed economic infusions for rapid inflation.

Mr. Biden thanked Republicans who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure law. Over 65,000 miles of highway and 1,500 bridges in disrepair will begin to be fixed, he said. 

"We're done talking about infrastructure weeks. We're now talking about an infrastructure decade," the president said. 

Mr. Biden pointed to China to underscore America's need to invest in its infrastructure, saying the U.S. needs better roads and bridges to compete for the future. 

By Kathryn Watson

Biden announces American airspace will close to Russian flights, release of 30 million barrels of oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve

"We are ready, we are united," Biden says of response to Russian invasion of Ukraine 10:49

While addressing the steps his administration has taken in response to Russia's war against Ukraine, Mr. Biden acknowledged the consequences of Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions will be felt worldwide, but said his administration is taking steps to limit the effects on American consumers and businesses. 

"To all Americans, I will be honest with you, as I've always promised. A Russian dictator, invading a foreign country, has costs around the world," he said. "And I'm taking robust action to make sure the pain of our sanctions  is targeted at Russia's economy. And I will use every tool at our disposal to protect American businesses and consumers. "

The president announced the U.S., along with 30 other countries, will release 60 million barrels of oil from reserves around the world, and the U.S. will release 30 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

"These steps will help blunt gas prices here at home. And I know the news about what's happening can seem alarming, but I want you to know that we are going to be okay," he said.

The president also announced the U.S. will close American airspace to Russian flights as part of the administration's efforts to isolate Russia, an announcement that was met with applause from those in the chamber, and highlighted that the U.S. has given more than $1 billion in assistance to Ukraine.

The president also reiterated that U.S. forces will not fight in Ukraine, but are in Europe to defend NATO allies in the event Putin orders his forces to move westward.

"As I have made crystal clear, the United States and our allies will defend every inch of territory that is NATO territory with the full force of our collective power," he said.

By Melissa Quinn

Biden begins speech by rallying country to unity around Ukraine

President Biden began his first formal State of the Union address by pointing to the unity Americans share, and to the crisis in Ukraine that has rallied the world to the cause of freedom.

"Tonight, we meet as Democrats, Republicans and Independents," he said. "But most importantly, as Americans."

Mr. Biden said the country meets this evening "with an unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny." 

"Six days ago, Russia's Vladimir Putin sought to shake the foundations of the free world, thinking he could make it bend to his menacing ways. But he badly miscalculated. He thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over. Instead he met with a wall of strength he never anticipated or imagined. He met the Ukrainian people. … And in this struggle as President Zelenskyy said in his speech to the European Parliament 'Light will win over darkness.'"

The president asked those in the audience to stand as he pointed out the Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, calling her bright, strong and resolved.   

By Kathryn Watson

Biden enters House chamber

President Biden entered the House chamber at 9:05 p.m. after he was introduced by House Sergeant at Arms William Walker.

"Madam Speaker," Walker declared, "the president of the United States."

Mr. Biden slowly made his way down the center aisle, greeting and shaking hands with lawmakers along the way.

"Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the United States," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. 

The president began his address at 9:08 p.m.

By Melissa Quinn

First lady Dr. Jill Biden enters gallery

First lady Dr. Jill Biden entered the executive gallery of the House chamber at 8:57 p.m. to applause from lawmakers.

Following her were members of Mr. Biden's Cabinet, who entered the chamber one minute later to cheers and clapping from lawmakers.

By Melissa Quinn

Five justices attend State of the Union

Five members of the Supreme Court are in attendance at Mr. Biden's first State of the Union: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

They entered the House chamber at 8:55 p.m.

This will be Breyer's last State of the Union as a sitting justice, as he announced he will retire at the end of the Supreme Court's current term if a successor has been confirmed.

Not all members of the high court venture to the Capitol for the address. Justice Samuel Alito last attended in 2010, when he was caught on camera mouthing "not true" after then-President Barack Obama criticized the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission.

Justice Clarence Thomas, meanwhile, said in 2010 the annual speech has become "partisan" and uncomfortable for members of the high court. 

By Melissa Quinn

Pelosi calls joint session to order

At 8:52 p.m, House speaker Nancy Pelosi called the joint session to order, and she and Vice President Kamala Harris announced the members in charge of escorting the president into the room. 

By Kathryn Watson

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo is the designated survivor

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo is the designated survivor for the address, according to a White House official. The designated survivor does not enter the chamber for the president's address, but rather, stays off campus in the event of an attack or other incident that would harm those in line for the presidency. 

By Kathryn Watson

Lawmakers wear blue and yellow in show of support for Ukraine

Many lawmakers attending the State of the Union address are wearing blue and yellow, the colors of Ukraine's flag, as a show of support for and unity with the Ukrainian people. Others have blue and yellow ribbons attached to their clothing.

Assembly and distribution of the ribbons was organized by Congressman Mike Quigley,  Democrat from Illinois, who serves as co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus.

By Melissa Quinn

Biden arrives at the Capitol

The president's motorcade arrived at the Capitol at 8:38 p.m., after a brief ride down Pennsylvania Avenue. Pennsylvania Avenue was adorned with Ukrainian and American flags. 

By Kathryn Watson

Biden leaves White House

President Biden left the White House at 8:32 p.m. The roads are blocked and police are directing traffic to give him a swift path to the Capitol. 

By Kathryn Watson

Biden to unveil new initiatives combating identity theft, fraud in pandemic relief programs

Mr. Biden will announce during his State of the Union address a series of initiatives intended to root out identity theft and fraud in relief programs implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the White House announced. 

As part of the administration-wide effort, the Justice Department will tap a chief prosecutor as part of its COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to lead teams of prosecutors and agents that focus on "major targets" of pandemic fraud, according to the White House.

During his speech, Mr. Biden will also urge Congress to enhance the penalties for criminals who commit "egregious" pandemic fraud and provide resources for the Justice Department task force to expand prosecutions.

The president will also take unilateral action in the coming weeks to grow government-wide directives to prevent and detect identity theft involving public benefits. A forthcoming executive order will direct new actions to support identity fraud victims, the White House said.

The initiatives expand on existing steps the Biden administration has taken to address fraud and identity theft of public benefits designed to assist workers and small businesses harmed by the pandemic. According to the Federal Trade Commission, there was a 3,000% increase in reports of identity theft involving public benefits from 2019 to 2020.

By Melissa Quinn

Vice President Kamala Harris arrives at Capitol

Vice President Kamala Harris arrived at the Capitol at 8:14 p.m. Harris will be seated behind Mr. Biden during the speech, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

By Caroline Linton

Biden will "make clear that the answer is not to defund the police," White House official says

A White House official said Mr. Biden will discuss his "comprehensive strategy to fight crime" during the State of the Union. The official said that strategy is two-pronged: "Investing in crime prevention and helping cities and towns hire additional community police officers to walk the streets, get to know their neighbors, and restore trust and safety." "

"He'll make clear that the answer is not to defund the police, it's to put more police – with better training and more accountability – out to take back our streets and make our neighborhoods safer," the official said. "And he'll talk about the steps his administration has taken – and will continue to take – to advance that accountability and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve."

Mr. Biden will also reiterate his call for Congress to pass "common sense gun violence legislation that will save lives," the official said. 

"The president continues to urge Congress to act on his budget request of $200 million for community violence interventions and $300 million budget request to more than double the size of the Department of Justice's COPS community policing hiring grant program," the official said. 

A CBS News poll released Tuesday ahead of the State of the Union found that only 39% of Americans approved of Mr. Biden's handling of crime.

Caroline Linton and Bo Erickson 


Biden expected to announce he will close U.S. airspace to Russian aircraft

CBS News has learned that in his State of the Union address, Mr. Biden is expected to announce that he is following in the footsteps of European allies and closing U.S. airspace to Russian aircraft. This is a move U.S. officials have been considering for several days. Some flights from Russia to the U.S. are already being canceled.

By Nancy Cordes

Biden to say "Putin was wrong. We were ready"

According to excerpts of the speech released early, Mr. Biden will say Russian President Vladimir Putin miscalculated by invading Ukraine.

"Putin's war was premeditated and unprovoked," Mr. Biden will say. "He rejected efforts at diplomacy. He thought the West and NATO wouldn't respond. And, he thought he could divide us here at home. Putin was wrong. We were ready."

Mr. Biden will also address inflation, according to the excerpts. He will say "one way to fight inflation is to drive down wages and make Americans poorer. I have a better plan to fight inflation."

"Lower your costs, not your wages," Mr. Biden will say. "Make more cars and semiconductors in America. More infrastructure and innovation in America. More goods moving faster and cheaper in America. More jobs where you can earn a good living in America. And, instead of relying on foreign supply chains – let's make it in America. Economists call it 'increasing the productive capacity of our economy.' I call it building a better America. My plan to fight inflation will lower your costs and lower the deficit."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Monday that Mr. Biden will use the word "inflation" in the State of the Union, despite the administration's earlier efforts to avoid it.

By Caroline Linton

Biden to outline 'unity agenda' including effort to tackle mental health crisis

While Washington remains deeply divided over some of the most pressing issues, President Biden will be outlining his so-called "unity agenda" in his State of the Union address. The effort will highlight policy areas where there has been support from both Republicans and Democrats, according to a senior administration official. 

Mr. Biden's call for Congress to send him bills that help American families comes as large components of his agenda have been blocked in Congress, since Democrats hold only a small majority in the House and the Senate is split 50-50. 

Biden's social spending and climate agenda, known as the Build Back Better plan, hit a wall in December after Democratic Senator Joe Manchin announced his opposition to the legislation amid soaring inflation and national debt. Since then, Democrats have been unable to revive it. But lawmakers did have some bipartisan success with the passage of the infrastructure bill signed into law in November.

One issue the president will  pinpoint is the country's mental health crisis, which has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the White House, Mr. Biden envisions  transforming how mental health is perceived, as well as strengthening and expanding treatment. To do this, the president will call for increasing the workforce, breaking down barriers — including financial ones — to  care and taking steps to promote wellness in schools, online, workplaces and more.

The mental health crisis has particularly taking a toll among young people. To confront this challenge, the president will also call for Congress to strengthen privacy protections, ban targeted advertising to children and demand tech companies stop collecting personal information on kids.

Mr. Biden's  call for unity in addressing mental health follows some bipartisan efforts on Capitol Hill. Multiple lawmakers have unveiled individual proposals to tackle the issue. Earlier this month, the Senate Finance Committee also held a hearing on the crisis. A bipartisan group of lawmakers is now working to come up with legislation.

By Sarah Ewall-Wice

First lady's guests include ambassador to Ukraine and Facebook whistleblower

First lady Jill Biden's office said Tuesday that Oksana Markarova, the ambassador to Ukraine, will join the first lady's viewing box along with Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and Mr. Biden's sister Valerie Biden Owens. 

Other guests of the first lady include Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen; Joseph "JoJo" Burgess, a trainer for United Steelworkers Local 1557; seventh grade diabetes advocate Joshua Davis; nurse Refynd Duro; Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger; Melissa Isaac, an enrolled member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and serves her community through her role at the Michigan Department of Education; Danielle Robinson, the widow of Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson, who deployed to Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo and the Camp Liberty/Victory complex in Iraq; and Kezia Rodriguez, a student and parent at Bergen County Community College. 

By Caroline Linton

Biden and Zelensky talk on the phone

President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke by phone for just over 30 minutes Tuesday, a White House official said.

Zelensky said on Twitter he and Mr. Biden discussed sanctions imposed on Russia and military assistance to Ukraine.

"We must stop the aggressor as soon as possible," Zelensky tweeted. "Thank you for your support!"

Ukraine's president spoke earlier Tuesday with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about Russian troops' shelling of residential neighborhoods in Ukraine. Zelensky said he "emphasized the need to close the sky" over Ukraine, an apparent reference to a request for a no-fly zone over the country.

"The work on Ukraine's accession to the #EU needs to be accelerated," he tweeted about the call.

Asked Monday about Zelensky's calls for NATO and the U.S. to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said doing so would essentially be a "step toward" sending U.S. troops to fight against Russia, which Mr. Biden has repeatedly said he will not do.

"A no-fly zone would require implementation. It would require deploying U.S. military to enforce, which would be a direct conflict- potentially a direct conflict and potentially war with Russia, which is something we are not planning to be a part of," she told reporters.

By Melissa Quinn

Psaki says Biden will use the word "inflation"

While administration officials shied away from using the word "inflation" while speaking to reporters on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that Mr. Biden will "absolutely" reference inflation directly.

By Kathryn Watson

CBS News poll finds Biden's approval rating at 44%

 Mr. Biden's overall approval rating is 44%, up a tick from last week, but still in the very narrow range where it has been over the last few months. His approval rating began to fall last summer with events in Afghanistan, declined further amid inflation concerns and has never rebounded to the levels seen at the start of his term. 

Mr. Biden did get slightly positive ratings now for handling coronavirus, amid a decline in cases and a rising percentage who think U.S. efforts on it are improving.

The poll found that the American public is concerned about events overseas, and also facing steep challenges on the domestic front: most continue to think the economy is in bad shape and things in the country aren't going well. 

—  Anthony Salvanto, Jennifer De Pinto, Kabir Khanna and Fred Backus


Padilla, Raskin and DelBene test positive for COVID-19

 Senator Alex Padilla of California and Representatives Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Suzan DelBene of Washington said Tuesday that they had tested positive for COVID-19 and would not be attending the State of the Union. 

"As I do regularly, I tested yesterday for COVID," Padilla tweeted on Tuesday. "Late last night, I received a positive test result with a breakthrough case. I'm asymptomatic and grateful to be fully vaccinated and boosted."

In a statement, DelBene said that she took a PCR test on Tuesday and tested positive. "I will be isolating and working remotely. I will not be attending the State of the Union. My office remains fully operational for WA-01 constituents," DelBene said.

Raskin said in a statement that when he took the COVID-19 test Monday night required for the SOTU and he tested positive. 

"I am disappointed not to be able to attend President Biden's State of the Union address in person," Raskin said in a statement. "But I will follow his speech closely—along with my State of the Union guest Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner—and I will be cheering for President Biden's powerful call to the world to continue to reject in every way possible Vladimir Putin's illegal war of aggression against the people of Ukraine. All of us must stand strong against authoritarianism and for democracy." 

Congress' attending physician Brian Monahan on Sunday issued a memo dropping the mask requirement for members during the State of the Union. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will sit behind Mr. Biden with Vice President Kamala Harris, told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell that she will not be wearing a mask. 

Caroline Linton and Nikole Killion  


How to watch President Biden's State of the Union address

  • What: President Biden's State of the Union address and the Republican response

  • Date: Tuesday, March 1, 2022

  • Speech: 9 p.m. ET

  • Location: U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

  • TV: CBS network television (find your local station here)

  • Online stream: Live on CBS News streaming in the player above and on your mobile or streaming device

  • "Red & Blue": Pre-speech coverage at 6 p.m. ET on CBS News streaming

By Caroline Linton

CBS News coverage plans

"CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell will anchor the multi-platform coverage from Washington, D.C., and be joined in studio by "CBS Mornings" co-host Gayle King, "Face the Nation" moderator and chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan, chief political analyst John Dickerson and chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes. 

Chief campaigns and elections correspondent Robert Costa and congressional correspondents Nikole Killion and Scott MacFarlane will report from Capitol Hill. Senior White House and political correspondent Ed O'Keefe will join from the White House. 

Chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett will lead fact-checking throughout the coverage, and chief justice and national affairs correspondent Jeff Pegues will report on the security measures around the Capitol and in Washington. 

Elections and surveys director Anthony Salvanto will provide instant polling of reactions to the president's address. Business analyst Jill Schlesinger will join the coverage for the latest on how the economy and rising inflation is impacting people's' lives and the political conversation. Former Republican congressman Will Hurd of Texas and Democratic strategist and political contributor Joel Payne will also contribute analysis.

On CBS News streaming, "Red & Blue" will begin pre-speech coverage at 6 p.m. ET, hosted by Elaine Quijano at the CBS Broadcast Center and Garrett in Washington. Salvanto will deliver the latest polling. Senior White House correspondent Weijia Jiang will anchor the 7 p.m. ET hour, followed by reporter Caitlin Huey-Burns and CBS News Radio's Steve Dorsey joining the coverage at 8 p.m. ET.

By Caroline Linton

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds to deliver GOP response

Key Speakers At The FAMiLY Leadership Summit
Kim Reynolds, governor of Iowa, speaks during the FAMiLY Leader summit in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday, July 16, 2021.  Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republican Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa will deliver the GOP response to Mr. Biden's address. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tapped Reynolds to deliver the response last week. 

"Governor Kim Reynolds' brave, bold, and successful leadership for Iowans has put her right at the front of that pack. She fought COVID without forgetting common sense and protected Iowans' health and their rights at the same time," McConnell said in a statement. "The President and his team should take notes."

Reynolds has served as governor of Iowa since 2017, and was the first woman elected governor in 2018. 

"The Biden Administration is governing from the far-left, ignoring the problems of working-class Americans while pushing an agenda that stifles free speech, free thought, and economic freedom," she said in a statement. "The American people have had enough, but there is an alternative and that's what I look forward to sharing on Tuesday evening."

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