Fencing has been erected around the US Capitol ahead of President Joe Biden’s (bottom right) State of the Union address as a trucker caravan (top right) protesting coronavirus mandates journeys to Washington, DC (Pictures: AP/Reuters)
Steel barriers have been erected around the US Capitol and National Guard troops have been deployed ahead of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, as trucker convoys head there to protest coronavirus mandates.
Fencing that surrounded the Capitol in the months after the January 6 insurrection has been reinstalled in light of protests possibly unfolding during the annual presidential speech to Congress on the nation’s condition.
Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger on Sunday said that barriers had been approved to ‘protect the United States Congress, the Capitol, and the legislative process’. He added that the fencing was placed in consultation with the Secret Service, ‘out of an abundance of caution’.
‘In light of the upcoming State of the Union Address, and the possibility of demonstrations in the next couple of weeks, we have been working closely with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners on a security plan to prevent any disruption to the important work of Congress,’ Manger stated.
Meanwhile, the Defense Department has approved hundreds of National Guard troops to assist Capitol police with controlling traffic. About 400 troops will be from Washington, DC, and up to 300 from outside the capital, the National Guard stated last week. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday afternoon rejected Biden’s request for National Guard troops from his state.
Several trucker ‘freedom convoys’ including one from California are traveling to Washington, DC, to rally on the National Mall against Biden’s stance on Covid-19. The action is similar to truckers’ demonstrations and blockade in Canada.
When is Joe Biden’s State of the Union address?
Biden’s first State of the Union address is scheduled to start at 9pm ET. It has been revised to incorporate Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Monday afternoon.
‘There’s no question his speech is a little different than it would have been a few months ago,’ Psaki told reporters.
Biden will be ‘laying out efforts to the American people that the Untied States has undertaken to rally the world for democracy against Russian aggression’ and uniting against the invasion of Ukraine, she said.
The president will also make a strong case that his administration’s economic strategy has produced ‘historic results’ and detail his plan for challenges ahead.
‘He will underscore that during his first year in office, due in large part to the American Rescue Plan, entrepreneurship and business investment rebounded, the economy achieved its fastest job growth in American history, the fastest economic growth in nearly 40 years, and a faster recovery than every other advanced economy,’ the White House stated.
Psaki said Biden will be raising elements of his Build Back Better plan as well as addressing inflation, an issue of utmost concern to Americans.
Additionally, Biden will call on Congress to deliver on a legislative agenda for climate action and clean energy.
Watch the White House’s live stream of Biden’s address below:
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