You could be forgiven for forgetting President Biden’s first State of the Union address is tonight (not to mention it’s the first election night of the 2022 midterms). Here’s what to know: 

  • We expect President Biden to focus on combating inflation and expanding manufacturing to relieve strains on supply chains, as well as the ongoing situation in Ukraine. He will also likely use the opportunity to trumpet the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act last year.
    • This year’s State of the Union, which will be held on March 1, will be the latest scheduled address since 1934.
  • After President Biden’s speech, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will be delivering a response on behalf of the Republican party, while Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) will give a response on behalf of the progressive Working Families Party. 
    • These speeches, along with President Biden’s address, will be telling for how the different political factions plan to message their arguments heading into the 2022 midterm elections.
  • The State of the Union fulfills a requirement in Article III of the Constitution for the president to “from time to time 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.”
    • During most of the country’s first century, the president primarily submitted only a written report to Congress. In 1913, Woodrow Wilson began the regular practice of delivering the address to Congress in person. But the term “State of the Union” first emerged when Franklin Roosevelt used the term in 1934.

And for a bit of trivia: Bill Clinton holds the recording for delivering the longest State of the Union address, clocking in at one hour, 28 minutes, and 49 seconds, on January 27, 2000.