US President Joe Biden speaks about the December jobs report, from the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC Photograph:( AFP )
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had sent the president a formal invitation to speak to Congress and the American public one year into his term
The White House has confirmed that US President Joe Biden will deliver his first State of the Union address on March 1.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had sent the president a formal invitation to speak to Congress and the American public one year into his term.
After Biden accepted her invitation, Pelosi wrote him a letter saying ''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!''
The speech has been delayed due to the current explosion of Omicron-fueled coronavirus infections in the US is causing a breakdown in basic functions and services, the latest illustration of how COVID-19 keeps upending life more than two years into the pandemic.
This is the first time in US history that a State of the Union address or annual message will be delivered in March; for most of the past century presidents delivered their annual addresses to Congress in January or February.
The last State of the Union address was delivered by former US President Donald Trump on the eve of his acquittal by the Senate in his first impeachment trial.
Biden first addressed a joint session of Congress in April 2021, about 100 days into his time in the White House, which he used to promote twin infrastructure and domestic spending bills.
An address to Congress in the president's first year is not an official State of the Union address, and Biden's April speech bore little resemblance to one because of strict COVID-19 protocols.
It was marked by limitations on attendance, with no guests allowed, and lawmakers seated on both the floor of the House chamber and the galleries above.
March 1 also marks the start of the congressional election season as Texas will hold primary elections that day for Democrats and Republicans to choose their candidates for the Nov. 8 election.
Addresses by the president to a joint session of Congress are normally filled with pomp and circumstance, but have also become a vehicle for partisan posturing.
In 2020, Pelosi tore up the copy of former President Donald Trump's speech that he handed her as part of the ceremony.
In 2009 Republican Representative Joe Wilson shouted "You lie!" at Obama during a special speech to a joint session of Congress to pitch for the Obamacare healthcare bill.
Wilson was widely condemned for the breach of protocol by both Republicans and Democrats, and apologized publicly to the president.
(With inputs from agencies)