President Joe Biden will address Congress, the federal workforce and the rest of the country Tuesday night in his second State of the Union address.
The constitutionally mandated speech is delivered by the President each year to a joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and to millions of viewers who tune in across the country and the world. Roughly 38 million TV viewers watched Biden’s first State of the Union address last spring, according to Nielsen ratings.
“A key difference between this year’s speech and last year’s is that Biden now faces a divided Congress for the final two years of his term. Republicans took back control of the House from Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections, while Democrats continue to hold the Senate,” the Associated Press reported.
In his last speech in March 2022, Biden touched on the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (which since has) and capping insulin costs, to name a few highlights.
The 1993 address given by former President Bill Clinton gathered the largest audience with nearly 70 million viewers.
In the first few years of the address when the tradition was still new, the content of the speech often focused on agency budget requests and general reports on the health of the economy. The message, its themes and its purpose have evolved over the years as a way for the leader of the executive branch to connect with the public and break the fourth wall.
The longest written address was given by President Jimmy Carter, who wrote 33,667 words in 1981, and the longest spoken one was given by former President Bill Clinton, at 9,190 words, according to the American Presidency Project at the University of California Santa Barbara.
The shortest was President George Washington’s, given in 1790 and clocking in at a succinct 1,089 words. The average length in the late 20th century was about 5,000 words.
How to watch it on TV, listen or stream it live for free
- When does it start? The address is schedule to begin at 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.
- Where will it take place? The State of the Union is given inside the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
- How can I listen to it? NPR is streaming the speech on its website, npr.org, and on its app, in addition to offering live coverage to its member radio stations.
- Where can I watch it for free?
Some Capitol-region restaurants and bars have watch parties for the annual state of the union. Here’s a list of a few.
Biden’s speech will be broadcasted by the major television networks and cable news TV channels, the AP reported, which will also livestream it at APNews.com.
The White House will also stream the speech on its website, www.whitehouse.gov/live and make it available on its Facebook and Twitter pages with a live feed with ASL interpretation for accessibility during the speech and full video. After the speech, check back on the website for a remarks transcript and highlights.
Live coverage will be provided by C-SPAN, C-SPAN Radio and C-SPAN.org.
Viewers can stream the live speech free-of-charge on YouTube at the link here or below:
With reporting by The Associated Press.
Molly Weisner is a staff reporter for Federal Times where she covers labor, policy and contracting pertaining to the government workforce. She made previous stops at USA Today and McClatchy as a digital producer, and worked at The New York Times as a copy editor. Molly majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.