When is the 2019 State of the Union address? Everything to know about Trump's second speech to Congress
Trump makes remarks after a working visit to Camp David, says the wall will be made out of steel being less obtrusive
President Trump is getting ready to step up to the podium for the second time in late January to deliver his annual State of the Union address — this time, to a Democratic majority House of Representatives.
Newly-sworn-in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., extended an invite to the president just hours after lawmakers formally joined the new Congress, proposing a Jan. 29 date for the annual event which is held in the House Chamber. Trump publicly agreed to deliver the address on that date days later.
In a letter, Pelosi explained that the Constitution established the three "co-equal branches of government, to be a check and balance on each other" and called for the president to "from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union."
Here's what you need to know about this year's event.
What will Trump discuss?
Similarly to 2018, Republican and Democratic lawmakers are yet again at an impasse over Trump's proposed border security.
The government was partially shuttered — with about one-quarter of government employees affected — ahead of Christmas because Congress couldn't strike a deal in regards to funding for Trump's border wall. Trump, in particular, is requesting a package that contains $5.7 billion to help build the structure along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Immigration was also a hot button issue last year.
The government shut down for three days in late January 2018 over disagreements over the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era program, which offers protection for immigrants — also known as "Dreamers" — who came into the U.S. illegally as minors. They eventually reached a compromise to briefly reopen the government.
During his 2018 address, Trump called on both parties to put politics aside and "get the job done," a theme he may echo this year as Democrats control the House while Republicans maintain their grip over the Senate.
“Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve."— President Trump
“Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve,” the president said.
Days later, on Feb. 9, 2018, the government once again shuttered, though that shutdown only last nine hours. Congress eventually came up with a two-year budget agreement that included an increase in military spending, an extension for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and additional funds for disaster relief, among other issues.
It's a deal "neither side loves, but both sides can be proud of," Senate Minority Leader Schumer, D-N.Y., said at the time.
How long will Trump's speech last?
There's no telling how long Trump's speech will last but if it's anything like last year's, expect it to run long.
In 2018, Trump spoke for a record 1 hour, 20 minutes — the third-longest SOTU speech in U.S. history. Former President Bill Clinton had him beat with a roughly 1-hour, 28-minute speech and 1-hour, 24-minute speech in 2000 and 1995, respectively, according to the University of California, Santa Barbara's American Presidency Project.
Who will attend Trump's SOTU?
An official list has yet to be released from the White House, though Trump's Cabinet, the heads of 15 executive departments, including the attorney general, members of Congress and a variety of guests — chosen by lawmakers — are invited to attend. The nine sitting Supreme Court justices, including newcomer Brett Kavanaugh, will also be asked to view the event in person.
Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior uniformed leaders in the Defense Department who help advise the president and his staff on military matters will be invited, too.
Trump will also likely handpick around 15 guests to join first lady Melania Trump in the gallery. It’s a tradition that was started by former President Ronald Reagan in 1982.
“Some of these individual stories are heroic. Some are patriotic. Others are tragic,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders explained in 2018. “But all of them represent the unbreakable American spirit and will inspire our nation to continue growing stronger, prouder and more prosperous.”
A Marine Corps. veteran, a cop, a welder and the parents of MS-13 victims were among those tapped by the president to attend last year's event.
Who's going to be the "designated survivor"?
The "designated survivor," a precaution taken to assure continuity of the presidency, probably won't be revealed until hours before the big event.
Last year, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was tasked with the role.
Ahead of the speech, the designated survivor will be taken to a secure and undisclosed location outside of Washington, D.C., where he or she is expected to stay with Secret Service agents until the conclusion of the event. When Trump and his Cabinet members safely exit the packed House chamber, the chosen official will be allowed to return home.
It's not unusual for a lesser-known Cabinet member to be selected, as the president may point out higher-profile officials as he mentions specific tasks and initiatives in his speech.