President Obama has been invited to deliver his final State of the Union address on Jan. 12, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s office said Monday.
White House officials said Monday that Obama has accepted the invitation.
That is an unusually early date for the annual speech to Congress, which has generally been delivered in late January or early February in recent decades. It will be the earliest date for a State of the Union address since President Gerald Ford spoke on Jan. 12, 1977.
“As we look ahead to the new year, we have both an opportunity and an obligation to find common ground to advance the nation’s interests at home and abroad,” Ryan wrote in his invitation letter to Obama. “We also owe it to the American people to present solutions that address the challenges they face.”
Delivering the State of the Union in early January was customary from the 1930s through the 1960s, before it slipped to later in the month.
The early date for next year’s speech is in part a function of the relatively light work schedule that Congress has planned for 2016. The House and Senate will be in recess from Jan. 18 to 22, the week following Martin Luther King Day; in the weeks before and after, respectively, House Republicans and Democrats have planned their annual policy retreats.
Juliet Eilperin contributed to this report.