Friday, January 9, 2015

Congress should have told Obama, "Put it in Writing."

In less than two weeks, President Obama will deliver the State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. Delivering the State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress is a tradition but it is not a constitutional requirement. Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution says, "He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."

George Washington in 1790 gave the first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress but that practice was discontinued by Thomas Jefferson and the State of the Union was not delivered in an address to Congress again until the Presidency of Woodrow Wilson in 1913. Wilson did not address Congress in 1919 and 1920 because of ill health. Coolige and Harding gave verbal addresses to congress but when Hoover took office in 1929 and for the next three years he gave a written State of the Union report to Congress. So, more State of the Union reports have been in writing than have been verbal addresses to Congress.

If I were a member of Congress, I would have difficulty applauding much of what President Obama will have to say.  I would have difficulty standing to applaud when he entered the room. His 30-some occasions in which he arbitrarily changed the affordable care act, his massive unilateral amnesty program, his misuse of the IRS, appointing officials to high office contrary to constitutional provisions, the Bengazi lies and coverup and his effort to fundamentally change our nation do not deserve to be honored. On the other hand, it would be unseemly to boo a President.

The President cannot convene Congress except in an emergency.  The President gets to address Congress only at their invitation. Congress should have told the President to submit a written State of the Union report.

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