Congress calls on Pres. Biden to address the housing crisis, Israel-Hamas conflict and reproductive rights during State of the Union address

Members of Congress expect President Joe Biden to highlight issues of reproductive rights, the Israel-Hamas conflict and the housing crisis during his State of the Union address on Thursday. 

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., told theGrio, that he hopes President Biden calls for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

President Joe Biden,
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on Feb. 8, 2024, in Washington, D.C. Biden addressed the Special Counsel’s report on his handling of classified material, and the status of the war in Gaza. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., told theGrio, that he wants the president to take it a step further and use his platform to “end the siege that’s happening in Gaza and address the starvation of children in the region.” 

The death toll in Gaza has exceeded 30,000, mostly including women and children, and for months congressional members and activists have demanded that Biden-Harris put pressure on the Israeli government to cease military operations in the region. 

As a result of the ongoing conflict, Palestinians are facing a hunger crisis and many children are dying from starvation. The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner published an article that stated Israel “has been intentionally starving the Palestinian people in Gaza since 8 October.”

Rep. Summer Lee, D-Pa. told theGrio that the rest of the world is looking at the U.S.’ response to the Israel-Hamas conflict. “They’re looking to see leadership…and a call for a ceasefire,” she said

On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., held a press conference to demand President Biden also address the housing crisis during his State of the Union address.

“Housing costs are so extreme,” said Waters. “Families are paying more than 30 to 50 percent of their paychecks on housing.” 

U.S. Capitol,
The U.S. Capitol building is shown in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“A record 600,000 are experiencing homelessness and millions more are on the verge of homelessness,” she added. 

U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna told theGrio that in addition to addressing the housing crisis, he hopes the president will announce a “working-class agenda that is committed to ending Wall Street buying up houses and committed to building new public housing.”

According to Forbes, Wall Street owns 1.2 million homes across the U.S., which is driving up the cost of home and rental properties and it is making it harder for Americans to buy or rent places to live.  

In December 2023, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate introduced a bill that would prohibit hedge funds from purchasing and owning single-family homes and boxing out everyday Americans. 

Rep. Shontel Brown, D-Ohio, told theGrio, that it is also imperative that President Biden address issues surrounding reproductive rights.

“Folks who do not understand health care are making decisions that are having egregious consequences,” she said.

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters,
House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Water (D-CA). (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Brown wants “Americans to recognize the consequences of Republican leadership and come to the realization that they are not putting people over politics like Democrats.” 

The Ohio lawmaker’s remarks come as Black and brown women who live in states that have enacted anti-abortion laws are disproportionately impacted.

In June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and granted authority to states to enact their own anti-abortion laws. In 2023, Republican-led states like Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho and Texas passed some of the nation’s strictest anti-abortion bills greatly impacting women of color and other marginalized groups.

Lastly, U.S. Rep. Lee told theGrio that she hopes that the president will announce a strategy for Democratic lawmakers and voters to work together to defeat former President Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential race.

“What are the things that are going to inspire us? How are we going to continue to build? How are we going to continue to honor and invest in the people who are sustaining our democracy?,” she inquired.

President Biden is slated to deliver his State of the Union address at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday at the U.S. Capitol.

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Members of Congress are anticipating President Joe Biden to address key issues during his State of the Union address, including reproductive rights, the Israel-Hamas conflict, and the housing crisis. Representatives such as Ro Khanna, Jamaal Bowman, and Summer Lee are urging the President to take action on these issues, particularly calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and addressing the starvation crisis. The ongoing conflict in Gaza has led to significant casualties and a hunger crisis, with demands for the U.S. to pressure Israel to cease military operations. Additionally, Maxine Waters emphasized the need for Biden to address the housing crisis caused by high costs and homelessness. There are also calls to address reproductive rights issues, especially impacting women of color in states with strict anti-abortion laws. Lastly, there is a focus on defeating former President Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential race. The President’s State of the Union address is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET at the U.S. Capitol.

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