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Watch Live: Republican response to the State of the Union


How to watch the Republican response to the State of the Union

  • What: Republican response to State of the Union

  • Date: Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023

  • Time: After President Biden's speech ends 

  • Location: Little Rock, Ark.

  • TV: CBS television stations — find your local station here

  • Online stream: Live on CBS News in the player above and on your mobile or streaming device

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be delivering the Republican response to President Joe Biden's State of the Union address on Tuesday night. 

CBS News will broadcast the Republican response as part of the special report on the State of the Union. Sanders was first elected in November as the first female governor in Arkansas' history, after serving as the White House press secretary for former President Donald Trump. 

A Sanders official told CBS News that she, the youngest governor in America, will talk about how it's time for a new generation of leadership. She is 40, while Mr. Biden is 80, the oldest president in U.S. history. Mr. Biden, Sanders will say, is unwilling to defend the nation's border, skies — a reference to the suspected Chinese spy balloon — and people, and isn't fit to serve as commander in chief. 

The Arkansas governor will seek to contrast Republicans with Mr. Biden and the Democrats, claiming Republicans are for freedom while Democrats are for government control. The choice, she will suggest, isn't between right or left, but between "normal and crazy," the official said. 

"And while you reap the consequences of their failures, the Biden administration seems more interested in woke fantasies than the hard reality Americans face every day," Sanders will say according to excerpts released ahead of the speech. "Most Americans simply want to live their lives in freedom and peace, but we are under attack in a left-wing culture war we didn't start and never wanted to fight. Every day, we are told that we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags, and worship their false idols…all while big government colludes with Big Tech to strip away the most American thing there is—your freedom of speech."

The person from the opposing political party who is chosen for the response to the president's speech is generally viewed as an up-and-comer in political circles. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who is mulling a presidential run, delivered the response in 2021 and former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, who is also considering a White House bid, delivered it in 2016.

State of the Union What to Watch
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks after taking the oath of the office on the steps of the Arkansas Capitol, Jan. 10, 2023, in Little Rock, Ark.  Will Newton / AP

Rep. Juan Ciscomani of Arizona will deliver the Republican response in Spanish. 

One topic that is almost certain to come up is the debt ceiling, which must be raised or suspended to avert default, since the U.S. hit the debt ceiling in mid-January. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has begun to undertake extraordinary measures to keep paying the nation's creditors and others to avoid default, but she expects to reach the limit of those measures some time in June. 

Raising the debt limit will require the support of House Republicans, now in the majority, but there are deep disagreements with the White House on the way forward. Republicans are demanding spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, while President Biden wants a "clean vote" on the debt limit.

On Monday, the eve of the State of the Union address, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy gave a speech focused on the debt ceiling and called the national debt the "greatest threat to our future." He said the current pattern of spending, which he blamed on Democrats, isn't an option, although he also emphasized that cuts to Medicare and Social Security are "off the table." 

"Now, President Biden wants Congress to raise the debt limit yet again, without a single sensible change, to how government spends your hard earned money," McCarthy said. "Does that sound responsible to you?" 

— Kristin Brown contributed to this report