State of the Union 2024: How to watch

  • Biden will give the address on Thursday, March 7, at 9 p.m. ET
  • The Constitution mandates the president give an update on the nation
  • Presidents are formally invited to deliver the address in Congress

(NewsNation) — President Joe Biden will be delivering the annual State of the Union address March 7, his third time delivering it before Congress.

Here’s what to expect from the event.

What is the State of the Union?

The State of the Union is the annual message delivered by the President to a joint session of Congress. The address may be given in writing or in person, something that has changed over the years. President Thomas Jefferson was the first to deliver an update in writing, but since President Woodrow Wilson resumed in-person addresses in 1913, most (but not all) presidents have delivered a speech before Congress.

Article 2, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution mandates that presidents must “from time to time” give an address on the state of the union to lawmakers.

The speech wasn’t known as the “State of the Union” until President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934, having been previously known as the annual address to Congress. Only two presidents have failed to give a State of the Union address — Presidents William Henry Harrison and James Garfield both died before they had the chance.

When is this year’s State of the Union?

Biden will give his address Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.

The address is usually delivered sometime in January or February in most cases, though it may be later. While outgoing presidents have the chance to deliver a final State of the Union before leaving office, President Jimmy Carter was the last to do so in 1981.

President Biden gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, February 7, 2023.

The president must be formally invited to give the address by the speaker of the House; while typically a formality, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., refused to invite former President Donald Trump to give the 2019 address until a government shutdown ended. The speech was given at a later date.

How to watch the State of the Union?

NewsNation will be airing special coverage of the address starting at 8 p.m. ET with a special edition of “CUOMO.”

What will Biden be talking about?

With a presidential election coming in November, Biden is likely to play up his administration’s work on key issues including inflation, the economy, efforts to lower the cost of health care and support green energy. The president is also likely to speak about the threats to democracy both domestically and abroad, touting the White House’s support for Ukraine and likely reiterating calls for Americans to turn out and vote in defense of democratic values.

Biden will also be trying to appeal to younger and progressive voters who have been dissatisfied with his handling of the Israel-Hamas war, where he has pledged support for Israel while increasingly calling on the country to do more to limit civilian casualties.

The president will also be hoping to use the platform to prove his fitness for the job as a recent special counsel report raised concerns about his age and mental status, something voters have expressed worries about as well.

A rematch between Biden and former President Donald Trump is all but certain, according to recent polls, Biden’s approval numbers are down while Trump’s have remained mostly the same since 2020 when they were last in competition.

Who will deliver the Republican response?

Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala., will deliver the Republican response to Biden’s State of the Union address.

Britt said last week she is grateful for the opportunity to have a “candid conversation about the future of our nation.”

Politics

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