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SOTU Report Card: Biden’s 2022 address, one year later

(NewsNation) — President Joe Biden will deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday, laying out his top priorities for the year ahead and making a case for reelection. But how much of what he promised last year came true?

Biden will address how the nation can build an economy that works from the bottom up and the middle out, boost our competitive edge against other countries, keep the American people safe, and bring the country together.

It comes as recent polling shows 23% of the country is broadly satisfied with the way things are going, with nearly half reporting they are very unsatisfied with the current state of the country.

During last year’s State of the Union, Biden made separate promises centered on holding Russia accountable, addressing gun violence, police reform and funding, and immigration.

Russia and Ukraine

The Biden administration vowed to support Ukraine in its defense against Russia following Russia’s Feb. 24 2022, invasion that initiated an ongoing battle between the two nations.

“Tonight, I say to the Russian oligarchs and the corrupt leaders who bilked billions of dollars off this violent regime: no more,” Biden said during last year’s State of the Union.

Since Russia’s invasion, the U.S. has committed more than $24.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

That aid has come in the form of anti-tank missiles, ammunition, howitzers, aircraft rockets and other equipment.

Biden also followed through with sanctions against Russia. Early last year, the leading industrial nations in the Group of Seven announced they would restrict the Russian central bank’s use of gold in transactions, while the U.S. committed to a round of sanctions that targeted more than 400 elites and members of the Russian State Duma.

Gun violence

Biden’s 2022 address included a vow to do “everything in my power to crack down on gun trafficking and ghost guns you can buy online and make at home.”

After decades of deadlock on gun reform, Congress came together last year to pass the most significant federal gun restrictions bill in nearly 30 years.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act requires people younger than 21 to undergo enhanced background checks, funds crisis intervention and distinctly classifies gun trafficking and straw purchases as federal crimes.

The legislation, which came on the heels of the deadly shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, didn’t go as far as Biden had hoped, however. The president initially asked Congress for a ban on all assault weapons.

The law’s ultimate passage was followed in quick succession by another shooting, when a gunman opened fire at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois. Seven people died as a result of the shooting.

Police reform

Last year, Biden emphasized that Americans shouldn’t need to choose between safety and equal justice.

His approach to police reform included hiring more police in an effort to keep communities safe.

“We should all agree the answer is not to defund the police but to fund the police,” Biden said during last year’s speech.

The president’s proposals to tackle police reform became stuck in a divided Congress, however. His $37 billion Safer America Plan, which would fund 100,000 police officers nationwide and invests $20 billion in criminal justice reform, is in Congress’ hands.

Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget requests a fully paid investment of about $35 billion to support law enforcement and crime prevention.

Immigration

The border crisis remains one of the biggest challenges for the Biden administration.

Despite the president’s calls last year to “secure the border” and “fix the immigration system,” Democrats and Republicans haven’t been able to agree on a solution.

Tension over the U.S.-Mexico border continued to build throughout 2022, as leaders in Arizona, Texas and Florida arranged for migrants to be bused or flown to other parts of the country.

El Paso, Texas, in particular, experienced such an influx of unauthorized crossings that the city declared a state of emergency late last year.

Democrats and Republicans also butted heads over the public health border policy Title 42. The COVID-19 pandemic-era policy allowed U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents to turn away migrants with the goal of preventing the spread of the virus.

The Biden administration argued for the policy’s end in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.

The Supreme Court, however, chose to extend the policy late last year. It remains in effect.

Most recently, Biden announced the U.S. would deny entry to Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans who cross the border from Mexico without authorization, which expanded on an earlier effort to restrict Venezuelans.

Inflation

“Getting prices under control,” was among Biden’s top priorities last year.

In August, the president signed the Inflation Reduction Act, providing $3754 billion to fight climate change and capping prescription drug costs for Medicare recipients.

The law’s final form was a slimmed-down version of Biden’s original goal, which included free pre-kindergarten, paid family and medical leave, and expanded Medicare benefits, among other items.

However, inflation remains high — up 6.5% in December compared to the same month a year prior. American households are feeling its impact, too.

The price of household staples such as eggs recently saw record-high prices, leading to what border patrol agents have described as egg-smuggling at the southern border.

Egg prices now are on the decline, while luxury items such as Teslas continue to climb.