State of the Union: Debt Ceiling Here

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, Jan. 24, 2012.

President Barack Obama was formally invited today to give this year’s State of the Union address on Feb. 12.

That is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

Obama will take his official oath of office for a second term on Jan. 20 on the Robinson family Bible, and then swear in at his inaugural address in front of the Capitol on Jan. 21 with the Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. Bibles.

The State of the Union is delivered to a joint session of Congress in the larger House chamber, and usually occurs in January. Obama’s address would be the first State of the Union delivered in February since former President George W. Bush spoke on Feb. 2, 2005.

House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, sent out the invitation.

“Our nation continues to face immense challenges, and the American people expect us to work together in the new year to find meaningful solutions,” Boehner wrote. `This will require a willingness to seek common ground as well as presidential leadership. For that reason, the Congress and the Nation would welcome an opportunity to hear your plan and specific solutions for addressing America’s great challenges.”

As the president enters the chamber, he shakes hands with lawmakers in full view of the television cameras. Lawmakers are known to arrive hours before the address in hopes of snagging a coveted aisle seat and landing their 30 seconds of national TV time as they greet the president.

And the president, well, he will have a few words for the Congress as it debates the lifting of the federal debt ceiling and looming spending cuts that have been delayed in the New Year’s Day tax deal.


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