News / USA

State of Union Allows Presidents to Outline Agenda

State of Union Allows Presidents to Outline Agendai
X
February 11, 2013 5:05 PM
The United States Constitution mandates that the president address Congress on the current State of the Union. What began as a handwritten note to Congressmen has evolved into a show of televised political theatre, broadcast globally, in which a sitting president is nothing if not bold. VOA’s Laurel Bowman has more.
Laurel Bowman
The United States Constitution mandates that the president address Congress on the current State of the Union.  What began as a handwritten note to congressmen has evolved into a show of televised political theatre, broadcast globally, in which a sitting president is nothing if not bold. 
 
Americans fought the British for independence, but borrowed their practice of having the head of state address government leaders regularly.

Early presidents posted letters, not showing up at the Capitol.

The U.S. Constitution mandates there be a State of the Union report. It adds that the president shall recommend measures to Congress that he judges "necessary and expedient."

Ronald Reagan started the practice of inviting special guests to the speech, like this man who dove into the Potomac River in Washington to save victims of a plane crash.
Over the years the address has evolved.

We sat down with Georgetown University government and public policy professor Mark Rom for some insight.

“Presidents have multiple purposes for the State of the Union address.  One is they want to lay out their agenda for the upcoming session. But at the same time he is laying out that agenda for Congress, he is also laying it out for the public," Rom stated.  "Congress responds to public concerns so the president also wants to mobilize public opinion to support these goals.”

The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives formally invites the president to address both Senators and House members.  The speech is held in the House Chamber because it is larger.  Rom says that these days the speech is substantive, but also … dramatic.

“The president says what his agenda is. His backers in Congress, that is members of his party, will stand and whoop enthusiastically about this agenda.  The opponents, opposition party, will remain seated typically during those moments, cross their arms and look skeptical,” Rom explained.

It can be a time to speak of problems and offer solutions.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Raymond Murdock
February 13, 2013 11:09 AM
The promise in politics is like shedding a tear in the ocean and trying to find a grain of sand in the desert. (Raymond Murdock)
From the Presidential position must understand that rules for millions. Many confuse partisanship with nationalism. They may have good intentions, the issue is when these collide with good reasons. Entrenched and institutionalized economic interests above the law and order. No stipulations can be monotonous to vehement rhetorical campaign speeches. Utopias of benches. Or anxieties partisan.

Agree ideas, inclusive, beneficial to the whole society has its contrast of individualism in its most insignificant by vested interests when the massification to create uncertainty or worse when the partializes, intentionally or willfully violate, blackmail, distort, etc. Most pressing realities diverting attention from fundamental objectives such as respect the constitutional rights adapting to the times and to the realities that their complexity may include different factors but do not change in the substantiation transparency as consistency in application.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid