First Joe Biden State of the Union address set for March 1


President Joe Biden speaks during an event at the State Dining Room of the White House January 21, 2021 in Washington, DC.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday invited President Joe Biden to give his first State of the Union address to Congress on March 1.

Biden’s speech would be the latest scheduled State of the Union address since 1934, after Congress shifted the opening of its sessions to January.

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Presidents are required by Article Two of the Constitution 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.” Biden spoke to a joint session of Congress after he entered office last year, but the remarks are not considered a State of the Union address until the president’s second calendar year in office.

Presidents deliver State of the Union addresses in the House of Representatives. The Senate, presidential Cabinet members and Supreme Court justices attend, as well as special guests of the president and others.

Pelosi invited Biden to address Congress as the White House tries to contain staggering Covid-19 infections fueled by the omicron variant, curb inflation and sustain an economic recovery that saw the unemployment rate fall to 3.9% in December. Congressional Democrats in the coming weeks will try to pass his Build Back Better bill, which would invest in social programs and climate policy, along with voting-rights legislation.

“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!” Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote Biden.

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

“In that spirit, 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,” Pelosi wrote.

CNBC has reached out to the White House to request comment on the invitation.

The first two presidents, George Washington and John Adams, gave the State of the Union in a personal address to Congress. But the third president, Thomas Jefferson, suspended that practice and gave his evaluation of the state of the union in writing.

Subsequent presidents continued Jefferson’s practice until Woodrow Wilson resumed the practice of giving the address in person to Congress in 1913.

President Jimmy Carter was the last president to deliver his State of the Union message in a letter to Congress. He did so in 1981, shortly before President Ronald Reagan took office.



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