The war in Ukraine will overshadow President Biden's first State of the Union address tonight, which is set to be broadcast from Capitol Hill starting at 9 p.m. ET. He'll take the podium following two years of a pandemic that has killed nearly 1M Americans, as COVID fatigue and the withdrawal of restrictions take shape following a sustained drop in infections from the Omicron wave. Americans from all walks of life will be tuning in the speech, and while the message itself isn't typically market-moving, comments or legislative priorities could show what is in store for various sectors of the economy.
Snapshot: Consumer prices over the past 12 months have jumped by 7.5% amid soaring inflation at the grocery store, as well as the gas pump. While energy prices have been exacerbated by the Russian invasion, Biden is expected to showcase the efforts he has taken "to rally the world to stand up for democracy and against Russian aggression," according to a White House statement. He's also likely to point to his coronavirus relief package, calling it the catalyst for the fastest job growth in American history and best economic performance since 1984.
With price pressures remaining a big problem, Biden will detail further efforts to tackle the costs. Those include "strengthening the supply chain, reducing the cost of everyday expenses for working families, promoting fair competition and eliminating barriers to good-paying jobs." Biden also plans to call on Congress to send him legislation combating climate change, but may tread carefully around his "Build Back Better" agenda, which was torpedoed by Republican opposition and key Democratic holdout Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Manchin at it again: On the eve of Biden's SOTU address, Manchin urged the administration to boost domestic energy production, saying he was planning weeks of hearings on energy independence - for both the U.S. and to support NATO allies. "We produce energy cleaner than anybody in the world. We're buying 650K barrels a day from Russia. It's ridiculous. Totally ridiculous." Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also related that Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, has asked for Russian oil and gas to be sanctioned. "We're not using the energy sector as a weapon. We're not hitting Putin where it hurts most."