President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress as Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., applaud on April 28, 2021. (Melina Mara/Pool Photo via AP)
President Joe Biden will deliver his first official State of the Union address on Tuesday amid military upheaval in Eastern Europe and continued defense budget fights here at home.
White House officials have not offered any public previews of the speech yet, but Biden is expected to discuss the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan last summer, the recent Russian military offensive in Ukraine, and the incomplete fiscal 2022 federal budget still pending before Congress.
Unlike last year’s national address (which was a message to Congress, but not officially a State of the Union speech), all members of Congress will be allowed to attend. Last year, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, attendance was limited to just a small number of lawmakers, media and guests.
Later in the week, House lawmakers are expected to vote on sweeping legislation related to military toxic exposure and burn pit injuries. The measure could benefit as many as one in every five living veterans in America today but has drawn concerns over its significant cost, about $280 billion over the next decade.
Tuesday, March 1
Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen Global security challenges
Roger Zakheim, director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, will testify on U.S. global security challenges and strategy.
House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs — 10 a.m. — online hearing DAV
Officials from Disabled American Veterans will outline their legislative priorities for the upcoming year.
House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn Foreign allies
Defense and State Department officials will testify on the role of overseas allies in national security strategy.
House Science — 11 a.m. — online hearing NASA
NASA officials will testify on upcoming missions to Mars and other destinations.
House Armed Services — 2 p.m. — 2118 Rayburn Strategic forces posture
The heads of U.S. Space Command, Strategic Command and Northern Command will testify on the nation’s strategic forces posture.
Wednesday, March 2
House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs — 2 p.m. — Visitor’s Center H210 VSO priorities
Officials from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project, Vietnam Veterans of America, and more will testify on their legislative priorities for the upcoming year.
House Armed Services — 2 p.m. — 2118 Rayburn Suicide prevention programs
Defense officials and outside advocates will testify on the effectiveness of the military’s suicide prevenion policies.
Senate Foreign Relations — 2:30 p.m. — G-50 Dirksen India
State Department officials will testify on U.S. trade and security policy towards India.
Thursday, March 3
House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn Surface Navy
Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William Lescher and Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener, commander of Pacific Fleet’s Naval Surface Force, will testify on new safety protocols put in place following a series of deadly ship accidents in recent years.
Senate Foreign Relations — 10:30 a.m. — 106 Dirksen Nominations
The committee will consider several pending nominations, including Alina Romanowski to serve as ambassador to Iraq.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.