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Alabama Sen. Katie Britt to deliver the GOP response to Biden's State of the Union address

Two sources with direct knowledge of the planning first told NBC News that the up-and-coming senator from Alabama will give the Republican address on March 7.
Sen. Katie Britt, R-Al.,
Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala., at a news conference at the Capitol on Sept. 27.Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — Alabama Sen. Katie Britt will deliver the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on March 7, two sources with direct knowledge told NBC News.

Britt, who has endorsed former President Donald Trump, was sworn into office last year. She is the first woman elected to the Senate from Alabama and, at 42, the youngest Republican woman ever elected to the Senate. 

"There is no doubt that President Biden’s failed presidency has made America weaker and more vulnerable at every turn. At this decisive moment in our country’s history, it’s time for the next generation to step up and preserve the American Dream for our children and our grandchildren," Britt said in a statement.

Trump endorsed Britt in the 2022 Alabama Senate primary, a flip after he had first endorsed Rep. Mo Brooks. She’s seen as a rising star in the Republican Party, and her name has been tossed around as a potential vice presidential pick. 

In a statement, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., noted that Britt is "the only current Republican mom of school-aged kids serving in the Senate" and that she is "fighting to preserve the American Dream for the next generation."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement, "Senator Katie Britt is an unapologetic optimist, and as one of our nation’s youngest Senators, she’s wasted no time becoming a leading voice in the fight to secure a stronger American future and leave years of Washington Democrats’ failures behind."

Alabama was plunged into controversy after the state Supreme Court ruled that embryos are children, leading to uncertainty over the future of in vitro fertilization in the state. Multiple IVF providers have already suspended services.

Britt, who has consistently described herself as “100%, unapologetically pro-life,” addressed the ruling soon after in a statement first shared with the Alabama news website 

“Make no mistake — defending life and ensuring continued access to IVF services for loving parents are not mutually exclusive,” Britt said, defending the procedure. 

Britt told NBC News on Tuesday that she believes “the Alabama Legislature will act quickly” to protect access to IVF in the state after the ruling.

Britt briefed her Republican colleagues about IVF and the Legislature’s next steps to shield it during a closed-door lunch Tuesday, two sources with knowledge of the remarks said. The presentation went over well and was not contentious, the sources said.

A Democratic National Committee spokesperson highlighted Alabama's IVF controversy in a statement, saying that Republicans decided to "catapult their anti-freedom extremism to center stage" by picking Britt to deliver the party's response.

"Britt should be more concerned about the state of her state, but she has still refused to condemn the devastating court ruling that ripped away the promise of a family for so many Alabamans," said spokesperson Alex Floyd in a statement.

Britt, who is in her first term, serves as an informal adviser to McConnell’s leadership team. She sits on the Banking, Housing and Urban Development Committee, the Rules and Administration Committee and the Appropriations Committee, where she is the top Republican on the homeland security subcommittee.

Before she ran for the Senate, Britt was a practicing attorney in Alabama. She has also previously served in multiple staff positions for former Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., including chief of staff, deputy campaign manager and communications director.

The president’s opposing party typically delivers a speech in response to the annual State of the Union address. In 1966, Republican leaders recorded a televised response for the first time to President Lyndon Johnson’s address, setting in motion the tradition of a televised response, according to Senate historical records. In 1982, the responses began to be delivered directly after the president’s speech, rather than in the following days, according to Senate records.

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders provided the GOP response to Biden’s State of the Union address last year. Sanders previously served in the Trump White House as press secretary. The year before, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds delivered the GOP response.

“Republicans couldn’t ask for a better juxtaposition,” a senior GOP Senate aide told NBC News. “The youngest Republican woman ever elected to the Senate versus the oldest president in history.”