Every member of Congress can bring one guest to the State of the Union address. The President may invite up to 24 guests with the First Lady in her box. The Speaker of the House may invite up to 24 guests in the Speaker's box. Seating for Congress on the main floor is by a first-in, first-served basis with no reservations.
The Cabinet , Supreme Court justices , members of the Diplomatic Corps , and the military leaders constituting the Joint Chiefs of Staff have reserved seating. The Speaker, and then the Vice President, specify the members of the House and Senate, respectively, who will escort the President into the House chamber. As applause and cheering begins, the President slowly walks toward the Speaker's rostrum , followed by members of the Congressional escort committee.
After continuing applause from the attendees has diminished, the Speaker introduces the President to the Representatives and Senators, stating: "Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the President of the United States. At close of the ceremony, attendees leave on their own accord.
State of the Union: Read the full transcript - CNNPolitics
The Sergeants at Arms guides the President out of the Chamber. Some politicians stay to shake hands with and congratulate the President on the way out. Customarily, one cabinet member the designated survivor does not attend the speech, in order to provide continuity in the line of succession in the event that a catastrophe disables the President, the Vice President, and other succeeding officers gathered in the House chamber.
Additionally, since the September 11 attacks in , a few members of Congress have been asked to relocate to undisclosed locations for the duration of the speech to form a rump Congress in the event of a disaster. Both the Speaker and the Vice President sit at the Speaker's desk, behind the President for the duration of the speech. If either is unavailable, the next highest-ranking member of the respective house substitutes. Once the chamber settles down from the President's arrival, the Speaker officially presents the President to the joint session of Congress. The President then delivers the speech from the podium at the front of the House Chamber.
For the address , Senator Mark Udall of Colorado proposed a break in tradition wherein all members of Congress sit together regardless of party, as well as the avoiding of standing;  this was in response to the Tucson Shooting in which Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot and wounded in an assassination attempt. This practice was also repeated during the address and every address after. In the State of the Union address, the President traditionally outlines the administration's accomplishments over the previous year, as well as the agenda for the coming year, often in upbeat and optimistic terms.
Since Reagan's address, it has also become common for presidents of both parties to honor special guests sitting in the gallery, such as American citizens or visiting heads of state. State of the Union speeches usually last a little over an hour, partly because of the large amounts of applause that occur from the audience throughout.
The applause is often political in tone, with many portions of the speech being applauded only by members of the President's own party. As non-political officeholders, members of the Supreme Court or the Joint Chiefs of Staff rarely applaud in order to retain the appearance of political impartiality. In recent years, the presiding officers of the House and the Senate, the Speaker and the Vice President, respectively, have departed from the neutrality expected of presiding officers of deliberative bodies, as they, too, stand and applaud in response to the remarks of the President with which they agree.
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Since ,  the speech has been followed on television by a response or rebuttal by a member of the major political party opposing the President's party. The response is typically broadcast from a studio with no audience. In , the Democratic Party put together a TV program with their speech to reply to President Nixon , as well as a televised response to Nixon's written speech in The response is not always produced in a studio; in , the Republicans for the first time delivered the response in front of high school students.
Although much of the pomp and ceremony behind the State of the Union address is governed by tradition rather than law, in modern times, the event is seen as one of the most important in the US political calendar. It is one of the few instances when all three branches of the US government are assembled under one roof: members of both houses of Congress constituting the legislature , the President's Cabinet constituting the executive , and the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court constituting the judiciary.
In addition, the military is represented by the Joint Chiefs of Staff , while foreign governments are represented by the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps. The address has also been used as an opportunity to honor the achievements of some ordinary Americans, who are typically invited by the President to sit with the First Lady. Certain states have a similar annual address given by the governor. For most of them, it is called the State of the State address. The mayor of Washington, D.
American Samoa has a State of the Territory address given by the governor.
Puerto Rico has a State Address given by the governor. In Guam , the governor delivers an annual State of the Island Address.
Some university presidents give a State of the University address at the beginning of every academic term. Television ratings for recent State of the Union Addresses were:    . From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see State of the Union disambiguation. This article needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. State of the Union Four Freedoms January 6, President George W. Bush with Senate President U. Main article: Response to the State of the Union address.
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Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. February Learn how and when to remove this template message. Play media. Retrieved January 28, Retrieved February 28, United States Government Printing Office. Archived from the original on February 25, Obama's State of the Union Address".
If by now you feel like you have a pretty good handle on what Donald Trump looks like and would rather just listen, try TuneIn , which has a Roku app and will offer streams from a few sources, or NPR , which is NPR. Which is also a pretty good indication that you should take the time to watch it. Christopher Ryan.
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Brian Barrett is the digital director at WIRED, covering security, consumer technology, and anything else that seems interesting. Digital Director Twitter. Featured Video. Topics streaming Donald Trump politics live. But Thomas Jefferson, the third president, chose to give his annual message to Congress in writing rather than make the trek to the Capitol—kicking off a tradition that would last nearly a century.
In , Woodrow Wilson decided to buck that tradition.
Shortly after his inauguration, Wilson went to Capitol Hill to make a speech about tariffs, becoming the first president since John Adams to presume to address Congress directly, on its own turf. President Franklin Delano delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress.
source site But Wilson, a Progressive Democrat, believed the nation would benefit from a more active, visible president working alongside Congress in the lawmaking process. Since Wilson, all presidents except Herbert Hoover have chosen to go before Congress to deliver their annual messages, though some presidents reverted to a written message at times.