What is State of the Union address?

The State of the Union address is a traditional annual speech of the US president to a joint session of the Congress where he gives an account of the situation in the country.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 31, 2018 7:13:14 am
What is State of the Union address? United States President Donald Trump (AP/File)

United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday will visit Capitol Hill to deliver his first formal State of the Union address, a traditional annual speech of the US president to a joint session of the Congress where he gives an account of the situation in the country. The speech is delivered in the chamber of the House of Representatives in the presence of members of both the House and the Senate, the justices of the Supreme Court, members of the president’s cabinet and the diplomatic corps. The speaker of the House introduces the president.

Enshrined in Article II, Section 3, Clause I of the constitution, the State of the Union address is defined as something the president “shall from time to time 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.”

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According to the Senate Historical Office, President Franklin Roosevelt was the first to call his speech the “State of the Union” address and subsequently, the term was made official under President Harry Truman.

What time is the State of the Union address?

Donald Trump will visit Capitol Hill to deliver his first State of the Union speech at 9:10 pm EST (7:40 am IST) on Wednesday.

What topics are expected to be covered by Trump? 

As per White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, the theme of the address is, ‘Building a safe, strong, and proud America’. Commenting on his forthcoming speech, Trump said he would focus largely on trade and immigration during his first speech. “It’s a big speech, an important speech, we covered immigration,” Trump said. “We worked on it hard, covered a lot of territory, including  our great success with the markets and with the tax cut.”

In addition, President Trump is expected to address the various global crises that have persisted during his watch, such as North Korea’s nuclear challenge and Iran’s clout in the Middle East. He is also likely to highlight strong economic growth in the US and talk about the benefits of a tax overhaul approved by the Republican-controlled Congress in December that was his first major legislative victory.

He is also expected to stress on the America-first policy, a point which he stressed during last week’s Davos summit.

Who are all on the guest list for the State of the Union?

The president and first lady Melania Trump have invited a total of 15 special guests, ranging from workers and business owners who have benefited from the economy, to parents of gang-violence victims, to military members and public servants, to volunteers.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), several Democratic senators and more than two dozen House members, including Representatives Gerry Connelly of Virginia and David Price of North Carolina, will bring DACA recipients and other undocumented immigrants to the address.

Who is boycotting the speech? 

Several Democratic lawmakers announced they would boycott the event, including Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Jan Schakowsky, (D-Ill.), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.). Others such as Jayapal, Lewis, Waters, and Wilson decided to skip it after Trump’s comments on Haiti and other African countries.

Besides, some Democratic women who will attend are considering wearing black in support of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment.

Who’s giving the Democratic response?

Representative Joe Kennedy will be giving his party’s response to Trump. Some of his viral speeches criticizing GOP tactics and Trump’s response to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville have garnered millions of views.

With agency inputs

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