Biden to call for over $1.8 trillion of federal spending in address to Congress tonight. How to watch for free—with or without cable

President Joe Biden will address a joint session of Congress Wednesday night, calling for $1.8 trillion in federal spending for programs ranging from free preschool and paid family leave to two tuition-free years of community college for American students.

The American Families Plan is an ambitious proposal that comes with a suggested $1.5 trillion in tax hikes, primarily among wealthy Americans and investors.

Wednesday’s address will kick off what’s sure to be a significant political fight with overwhelming obstacles. And both backers and opponents will be paying careful attention to what Biden has to say.

If you’re planning on tuning in, you have plenty of options for how to watch.

When does Biden’s joint address air?

Biden is scheduled to begin his address shortly after 9 p.m. ET. It’s not a State of the Union speech, since he needs to be in office for a full year before delivering one of those, but it’s pretty similar. Expect it to run for about an hour.

Where can I watch Biden’s joint address?

The address will be widely covered by all major broadcast networks and cable news channels, with each airing it live with analysis before and after the speech. Multiple online news sites will also stream the event.

How can I watch Biden’s joint address to Congress for free if I don’t have cable?

If you don’t have a cable or satellite subscription, the best way to watch any network-aired program for free on a big screen is with a good HD antenna. The joint address to Congress will be broadcast by ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and Fox—meaning you’ll almost certainly be able to find at least one channel airing it with a strong signal, which costs nothing beyond the equipment prices. Be sure to test the antenna in multiple locations in your home to find the most reliable signal.

Can I stream Biden’s joint address live online if I don’t have a cable subscription?

You can—and you have lots of options.


You can log in to to watch the address, though you will need to enter a cable service account number. If that’s problematic for you, the ABC News Facebook page will carry the address. 


CBSN, the network’s online news-streaming service, will carry the speech. You can also watch on the CBS News Facebook page. And the CBS News livestream on YouTube will carry the address, as well.


You can either log in to to watch the address or use the Fox Now app.


Free options include,, and the NBC News app, which will all simulcast the address. You can also watch it live on the NBC News Facebook page.


The PBS Newshour livestream on YouTube will carry the address.


Video coverage will stream on the home page and can be watched on the CNNGo streaming service.

Fox News

Live coverage will begin at at 9:00 p.m. ET.


The network will broadcast the address live on its website and take calls from viewers following the speech.

White House

The White House will air a livestream on its official website and on YouTube.

This free service lets you watch local broadcast channels with no monthly fees or contracts. The hiccup: It services only part of the country.

Hulu with Live TV

You can try the service free for a week. Once that’s up, you’ll pay $65 per month.

YouTube TV

After a two-week trial, you can expect monthly charges of $65.

Sling TV

Dish Network’s Sling lower-tiered Orange plan will run you $35 per month. A more comprehensive Blue plan bumps the cost to $50 per month. (Both have ABC.) You’ll have a seven-day free trial first—and right now, the cord-cutting service is dropping the first month’s bill to $10.


Formerly known as DirecTV Now and AT&T TVNow, AT&T’s streaming service will run you $70 per month and up. There is no longer a free trial option.

What can I expect from President Biden’s speech?

Biden will lay out his political agenda for the next few months, with a focus on the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan. Together, the two call for nearly $4 trillion in federal spending—and come after a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package just last month.

The Families Plan, announced Wednesday, includes universal free preschool, permanent paid family and medical leave, two tuition-free years of community college for an estimated 5.5 million students, and expanding new monthly child tax credits (averaging $250 to $300) through 2025. It’s an ambitious plan that will likely face stiff opposition, in part because it also carries big tax burdens for wealthy Americans, corporate tax hikes, and increased IRS audits for the richest filers.

“He will lay out the specific details of the American Families Plan in that speech, but he will also talk about a range of priorities that he has for the upcoming months of his presidency, including putting in place—working with Congress to put in place—police reform, including doing more to expand access to affordable health care,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a briefing Tuesday.

Who is giving the Republican response to the joint address?

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the only Black Republican senator, will give the Republican response to Biden’s address. Scott has been working with Democrats to reach a bipartisan deal on police reform legislation and is seen as a potential future presidential candidate.

Who is giving the Democratic response to the joint address?

For the first time in modern history, the President’s own party plans to give a response to the address as well. Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) will speak on behalf of progressive Democrats, weighing in on what they want to see from the administration.  

How will the address be different from past joint sessions of Congress?

Biden won’t have as big an audience as most Presidents do for a joint session. Only about 200 people will attend, compared to the 1,600 or so that usually pack these events. Members of Congress will be socially distanced and only two cabinet members (Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin) will attend. Chief Justice John Roberts will be the only member of the Supreme Court in attendance also.

Biden will wear a mask when he enters the chamber but plans to remove it before he begins speaking. Other attendees are expected to wear masks for the duration of the address.

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