March 1, 2022 | Kierra Powell

Tonight President Biden will hold his first State of the Union address. This will be the first State of the Union since the start of COVID-19 in the United States. In case you’re unfamiliar with the event, the State of the Union dates back to the founding of the United States. The constitution sets up the speech as an opportunity for the president to inform Congress on the current status of the country. Since its creation, the State of the Union has taken on many different forms, with some presidents choosing letters instead of speeches, the use of stand-ins, and the transition from radio to television. Since 1790 there have been 97 in-person State of the Union addresses. 

The speech typically highlights accomplishments from the President’s administration, specific legislative priorities the President wants Congress to work on in the next year, and presidential recommendations on important issues. Between the recent invasion of Ukraine, last week’s historic announcement of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and the ongoing pandemic, the President has a lot of ground to cover. 

Usually following the State of the Union, the opposition party to the President will choose a member to give a response to the speech covering their issue priorities. This year there will be several  separate responses delivered. The Republican Party has chosen Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds to deliver their response and The Working Families Party (a progressive third party that sometimes cross-endorses Democrat elected officials) has selected Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib to deliver their response. For the first time, the Congressional Black Caucus will have an official response given by Texas Congressman Colin Allred. Usually these responses serve as a rebuttal speech delivered by a representative from opposing parties, but the Working Families Party and Congressional Black Caucus responses may be somewhat more positive towards the Biden Administration. 

Tonight’s State of the Union is scheduled to begin at 9 pm EST and will air on all major tv and cable news networks.