WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says Energy Secretary Steven Chu will not attend President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

Traditionally, one Cabinet member does not travel to the House chamber for the speech in order to preserve the government and keep it functioning in case of a major calamity. Members of Congress, the Cabinet and the Supreme Court typically attend the annual event.

Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, announced earlier this month that he is stepping down after serving in the post during Obama's first term.