Authors: Joshua Cohan
(WASHINGTON) -- When President Obama addresses a joint session of Congress Tuesday night to deliver his State of the Union address, his audience in the House chamber will consist of more variety than members of Congress, the Cabinet and Supreme Court.
After Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was critically wounded in January 2011, lawmakers organized a State of the Union date night, with members from opposing political parties teaming up to sit next to each other in a display of bipartisanship. That effort was repeated last year, and a similar initiative is expected on a smaller scale next week.
But this year, Rep. Jim Langevin is leading an effort to persuade lawmakers to give their guest pass to a victim of gun violence. Attending the president’s address will be family members of victims in some of the nation’s deadliest mass shootings, including Virginia Tech, Aurora, Tucson and Newtown.
Each Member of Congress is entitled to one guest ticket for the State of the Union. The White House and Members of congressional leadership get additional guest passes.
Some of the lawmakers and their guests will conduct a news conference Tuesday at the Capitol hours before the president’s address.
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