How Will Obama's "Jobs" Speech Compare to Other Joint Sessions of Congress?
Historically, Joint Sessions of Congress have been used by presidents to address profound political changes overseen by their administrations. With the exclusion of State of the Union Addresses, presidents have largely assembled both chambers to comment on foreign policy, or other remarkable domestic events. The static economy and dismal job growth that has endured throughout the Obama Administration provides little reason for the President to use a Joint Session of Congress as a façade for a campaign rally. The below list shows how past presidents have used Joint Sessions to address major American events.
September 9, 1971: Promise to present budget plans later*
June 1, 1972: European trip report
October 8, 1974: Inflation and the Economy
April 10, 1975: State of the World
April 20, 1977: Energy crisis and OPEC
September 18, 1978: Announcing the Camp David Accords
June 18, 1979: SALT II
April 28, 1981: Post-Assassination Attempt Address
April 27, 1983: Establishing the Reagan doctrine on Central American communism
November 21, 1985: Reporting after the Geneva summit with the Soviet Union
President George Herbert Walker Bush
September 11, 1990: Discussion of the Gulf War and Invasion of Kuwait
March 6, 1991: Announcing the end of the Gulf War
September 22, 1993: Unveiling of Hillarycare
President George W. Bush
September 20, 2001: September 11th, Announcing the War on Terrorism
September 9, 2009: Obamacare
*Nixon’s first joint session speech is the notable exception that proves the rule. This address was composed of broad platitudes about forthcoming economic proposals; a rhetorical dodging of responsibility we have seen President Obama employ many times before.