What To Read Before the State of the Union

The economy; democracy and the courts; and community safety and gun violence are expected to be at center stage as President Biden prepares to address the nation during his second State of the Union address.

U.S. President Joe Biden talks to reporters after returning to the White House.
U.S. President Joe Biden talks to reporters after returning to the White House on January 30, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Getty/Chip Somodevilla)

On Tuesday, February 7, 2023, at 9:00 p.m. ET, President Joe Biden will deliver his second State of the Union address, which will be broadcast live online and on major broadcast television. This will mark the president’s first State of the Union address since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives.

Read the 2024 version of this column

During the address, the president will have an opportunity to discuss the vital issues affecting all of America. He is expected to remark on the economic recovery following the COVID-19 recession, the fight to safeguard American democracy, and the need to enhance public safety and fight crime.

To learn more about likely key topics in this year’s State of the Union address, the Center for American Progress has put together a guide on these crucial issue areas.

1. Investing in the U.S.

President Biden and Congress have passed the most consequential and progressive economic policies since President Lyndon B. Johnson more than 50 years ago. These changes will supercharge the transition to a clean energy economy and ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed economically, strengthening the United States for decades to come.

Read the following CAP pieces to learn more:

2. Fighting to safeguard democracy

As America heads toward the November 2024 election, the United States continues to face critical threats to its democratic system. Politicians who fraudulently claim the 2020 presidential election was stolen may seek to subvert the will of voters in future elections. Unregulated digital platforms are contributing to disinformation, polarization, and radicalization in our society. And a radical Supreme Court majority has been attacking and rolling back long-held rights, precedents, and freedoms, with more to come.

America’s democracy depends on safeguarding future elections from political interference, laying the groundwork for long-term reform of our courts, and creating accountability for tech companies when they threaten our democracy or profit from harm to their users, especially vulnerable children.

Read the following CAP pieces to learn more:

3. Safe and just communities

Every single person has the right to feel safe from crime and violence in their community. But the regression to tough-on-crime policies will not achieve that result. Rather, it reinforces the overpolicing and mass incarceration of communities of color while eroding public trust in the system’s ability to administer justice.

Instead, real and lasting safety requires a commitment to accountability, preventing crime before it happens, and strengthening gun laws that keep communities safe. Investments in community safety solutions and strong violence prevention efforts are critical for ensuring the safety of all Americans.

Read the following CAP pieces to learn more:


As President Biden addresses the nation, he has an opportunity to declare the state of our union is strong by showing the expansive measures his administration has taken to grow the economy, defend democracy and the rights and freedoms of all, and enhance public safety, while also discussing what steps must come next. The president should make clear that while MAGA extremism continues to pose a threat to progress, policymakers can continue to move the country forward if they prioritize the issues Americans care about most, instead of political stunts and excessive partisanship.

The authors would like to thank their colleagues at the Center for American Progress, including Mara Rudman, Julia Cusick, Colin Seeberger, Rebecca Rosenberg, Nick Wilson, and Hannah Malus, for all their insightful comments and suggestions on this column.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.


Kiera Manser

Former Content Strategist, Digital Strategy

Rose Khattar

Former Director of Economic Analysis, Inclusive Economy

Ben Olinsky

Senior Vice President, Structural Reform and Governance; Senior Fellow

Rachael Eisenberg

Managing Director, Rights and Justice


Digital Strategy

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