Despite Biden’s pleas for unity, his words may be falling on deaf ears. House Republicans are more interested in investigating Biden than working with him.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is expected to deliver a State of the Union address calling for unity as the deeply divided country approaches another presidential election cycle.

The president plans to call on Republicans to work with him to “finish the job” of reviving the economy and reuniting the nation, despite a narrowly divided Congress and worsening relations with China.

Tuesday night’s annual speech is Biden’s second in office and the first under a Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

The president gives an encouraging assessment of the nation’s situation instead of setting out bright political propositions.

It comes as the nation struggles to make sense of crosscurrents at home and abroad — economic uncertainty, a weary war in Ukraine, rising tensions with China and more — and is wary of Biden’s suitability for a likely bid re-election.

The speech also comes after House Leader Kevin McCarthy called on Biden to negotiate spending cuts with him as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling. Biden previously said there should be no negotiations and the debt limit should be raised without reservation.

“The story of America is a story of progress and resilience,” Biden said, according to excerpts released by the White House. He highlights record job creation during his tenure as the country emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic. And he declares that two years after the uprising in the Capitol on January 6, 2021, democracy in the country is “unbroken and unbreakable.”

Despite Biden’s pleas for unity, his words may be falling on deaf ears.

In the months leading up to the 2022 midterm elections, Republicans have promised to spend a lot of time investigating the Biden administration if elected. It’s a promise they’re seeking to keep as congressional committees begin investigations into Biden’s handling of classified documents and his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings, among other areas where Republicans would like to attack the president.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Monday promised to be “respectful” during the speech and in turn asked Biden to refrain from using the phrase “extreme MAGA Republicans,” which the president used during the 2022 campaign.

“I’m not going to tear up the speech, I’m not going to play games,” McCarthy told reporters, referring to Pelosi’s dramatic move after President Donald Trump’s latest State of the Union address.

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who gained a national profile as Trump’s spokeswoman, is set to deliver the Republican response to Biden’s speech in a rebuttal immediately following Biden’s remarks.

The White House and lawmakers of both parties invited the guests, who by their presence in the chamber of the House of Representatives were called to deliver political messages. Parents a Tyr Nicholswho was badly beaten by the police in Memphis and later died among those expected to sit down with First Lady Jill Biden. Biden’s other guests include rock star/humanitarian Bono and the 26-year-old who disarmed a gunman last month in a Monterey, Calif., park shooting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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