Why This Democrat Wants to Ban State of the Union Addresses

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Posted: Feb 06, 2018 12:30 PM
Why This Democrat Wants to Ban State of the Union Addresses

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) called for banning the State of the Union address, during a House Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday, due to presidents giving “impossible to deliver” promises.

“The State of the Union address promised more money than I can possibly imagine,” Smith said in his opening statement that was focused on defense spending, “and as I side note I think we ought to ban the State of the Union address, and I say that for Democrats and Republicans alike."

“The main thing that it does is it gives the executive a chance to stand up there and promise things that are absolutely, utterly, and completely impossible to deliver,” Smith claimed. “And then the American public comes to expect it, and rightfully gets a little bit irritated when magic doesn’t make it happen and again that’s bipartisan.”

He expressed his frustration with what he’s heard at the annual address, from presidents on both sides of the aisle, since he assumed office in 1997.

“Every State of the Union address I have seen since I’ve been here,” Smith said, “I’ve walked out of there thinking, ‘We don’t have that money. What is he talking about?’”

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While Smith may be frustrated with the big promises made at State of the Union, there would likely be constitutional issues with banning the address. Article II of the Constitution says that the president "shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”