US President Joe Biden is delivering his first State of the Union address after Republicans took control of the House of Representatives – a speech that may mark the unofficial start of the 2024 presidential campaign season. Biden’s speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday (Wednesday, 10am Hong Kong time) comes as the US faces gridlock among lawmakers, a showdown over the debt ceiling and renewed tensions with China. The speech gives Biden an opportunity to shore up support among Democrats, some of whom are concerned about his age and other issues. Biden turned 80 in November and, if re-elected, would be 82 at the start of a second term. All members of both the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House are invited. Members of Biden’s Cabinet, the armed forces and the Supreme Court also attend. It will be new Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy wielding the gavel and seated behind Biden on the dais this time rather than Democrat Nancy Pelosi. Republicans have picked Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who served as White House press secretary under Donald Trump, to deliver their response. That speech is generally delivered shortly after the president’s.