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Capitol Hill Politics

Biden’s first State of the Union address scheduled

The White House announced Friday that President Joe Biden will deliver his first State of the Union address to Congress on March 1, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi extended an invite to Biden for that date.

After Congress switched the start of its sessions to January in 1934, Biden’s address would be the latest planned State of the Union address since 1934.

Article Two of the Constitution requires presidents to “give to the Congress information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

After taking office last year, Biden addressed a joint session of Congress, but his words were not regarded as a State of the Union address until the president’s second calendar year in office.

Pelosi invited Biden to speak to Congress as the White House attempts to prevent massive Covid-19 infections caused by the omicron strain, maintain price stability, and maintain a growth in the economy that saw the rate of unemployment drop to 3.9 percent in December.

In the House of Representatives, presidents give State of the Union addresses. The Senate, members of the president’s cabinet, and Supreme Court judges, as well as distinguished guests of the president and others, all attend.

Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote to Biden in a letter, “Thank you for your bold vision and patriotic leadership which have guided America out of crisis and into an era of great progress, as we not only recover from the pandemic but Build Back Better!”

“With the life-saving American Rescue Plan, once-in-a-century Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and, soon, the truly transformational Build Back Better Act!” she said, ““Indeed, this past year has been historic”

“In that spirit,” Pelosi said, “I am writing to invite you to address a Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday, March 1, to share your vision of the State of the Union.”

The White House has been contacted by CNBC for comment on the invitation.

George Washington and John Adams, the first two presidents, delivered the State of the Union address to Congress in person. However, the third president, Thomas Jefferson, stopped doing so and instead wrote down his assessment of the state of the union.

Following Jefferson’s lead, presidents continued to deliver the message in person until Woodrow Wilson did it again in 1913.

President Jimmy Carter was the last president to send a letter to Congress with his State of the Union message. In 1981, just before President Ronald Reagan took office, he did so.

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