Strong jobs numbers are not enough. The president should keep pushing a bold legislative agenda while deploying every executive tool at his disposal to achieve a more equitable economy.

By Sarah Anderson,

President Joe Biden moved the date of the State of the Union from the traditional late-January period to March 1, with high hopes that by then he would have good news to share about his economic policy agenda.

Instead, two dark clouds will be hanging over his speech: the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the stalled negotiations over the president’s Build Back Better proposals.

The leader of the world’s most powerful country has spent much of the past few months pleading with Putin not to invade and pleading with Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to stop blocking his economic agenda. Sadly, these pleas fell on deaf ears.

2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden, speaks during an event on Thursday, November 14 at Los Angeles Trade–Technical College, in Los Angeles, Calif.

In his speech, Biden will need to acknowledge the limits to his power and the deep suffering of so many here and around the world. But he should also tout the economic achievements under his administration — and commit to using every tool in his executive action toolbox to make further progress without waiting for Congress to act.

People who like to play State of the Union games should definitely have “jobs” on their bingo cards and drinking lists. Biden will no doubt utter this word numerous times, since rapid job creation is one of the brightest spots of his presidency so far. The U.S. economy added 6.4 million new jobs in 2021 and another nearly half million in January 2022, bringing the unemployment rate down to 4 percent. We may even see pre-pandemic employment levels by July.

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