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Joint Sessions of Congress Broadcasts

The Senate and the House of Representatives each go about their business of making laws independent of each other, however, there are several important occasions when both Houses meet in Joint Session.

Joint Sessions of Congress

43 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 31 hours, 8 min)
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Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2021 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

Like so many things provided for in the United States Constitution, the bicameral Legislative Branch was developed as the result of compromise. The Founding Fathers were aware that giving equal representation to each state in the Union would favor the interests of the smaller states while apportioning legislative representation by population numbers would unfairly restrict those small states from being heard. The compromise was reached with a bicameral Congress composed of the Senate whose seats are held by two persons elected from each State for six-year terms and the House of Representatives whose membership is capped at 435 seats and apportioned to each state according to the results of the latest national census.

ReaganAlthough the Senate is regarded as the Upper House and the House of Representatives the Lower, both Houses are essentially equivalent in power according to the Constitution. A legislative bill must pass through both Houses before being presented to the President. Revenue matters must originate in the House of Representatives while the Senate is empowered to ratify treaties and approve Presidential Appointments. If the President is accused of "high crimes and misdemeanors", the House is empowered to initiate an Impeachment investigation which the Senate will then decide. Although both bodies meet in the US Capitol Building, the Senate meets in the building's North Wing and the House in the South.

There are occasions when the entire Congress will meet in a single session. Some of these Joint Sessions are mandated by the Constitution; after a Presidential election the entire Congress meets in Joint Session to count and certify the votes of the Electoral College; a Joint Session will be convened for a Presidential Inauguration, and the Congress will meet in Joint Session to hear the President's State of the Union Address. The State of the Union Address was modeled after the Speech from the Throne tradition at the beginning of British Parliamentary sessions. 

The most important difference between the State of the Union and the Speech from the Throne is that the American President (with his staff) writes his own speech while the Prime Minister traditionally writes the speech for the sitting Monarch. In both cases, the Address is an assessment of the state of the country and an opportunity for the Chief Executive to lay out his legislative agenda. Although Presidents Washington and Adams delivered their SOTU addresses as a speech before Congress, the Constitution makes no requirement that the report must be made in person. Jefferson submitted his State of the Union as a written report, which became the tradition until Wilson reestablished the speech in 1913. Since then, several Presidents have sent written reports, usually when medical conditions prevented them from personally reporting before Congress.

FDR Joint SessionsIn addition to the Joint Sessions mandated by the Constitution, the President may also address the entire Congress on specific subjects. President Adams made an address on Relations with France during the "Quasi-War" in 1798. In addition to restoring the State of the Union speech, Woodrow Wilson also made extensive use of the Joint Session address, making 17 of them during his term.

Congress has also met in Joint Session on several occasions to hear the address of a Foreign Leader. The leaders of France have addressed Joint Sessions on eight different occasions, British and Israeli leaders have made seven addresses each. During the Space Race, six different Astronauts appeared before Joint Sessions after their flights, and Generals and Admirals have also been called to Address the entire Congress.

  • December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The fires were still burning at the Pearl Harbor Naval Station from the surprise attack by the Empire of Japan when Roosevelt addressed the Joint Session of Congress, naming the previous day "a date which will live in infamy". Secretary of State Cordell Hull had encouraged the President to fully explain the diplomatic breakdown between the US and Japan, but Roosevelt felt that a short speech would have a greater dramatic effect. The Address was just seven minutes long, and within an hour Congress had formally declared a State of War with Japan.
  • NixonJune 1, 1972, President Richard M. Nixon. Although he was an avowed anti-Communist, in February 1972 President Richard Nixon became the first American President to visit the People's Republic of China, which put pressure on the USSR to also improve relations with the US. In the late spring, Air Force One took Nixon to Moscow. During the Address to a Joint Session of Congress after the trip, Nixon described a world where "new hopes are rising for a world no longer shadowed by fear and want and war". A little more than two weeks later, a team of burglars would be apprehended while attempting to break into the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate Complex
  • April 28, 1981, President Ronald Reagan. Just a few weeks after taking the office he had won in a landslide victory Ronald Reagan was shot just inches below the heart by a deranged gunman. Thanks to the heroic efforts of his Security Detail and the surgical team at George Washington University Hospital, Reagan survived the attack and when he made an Address to a Joint Session of Congress on April 28, 1981, Reagan's nonchalant heroism was greeted by thunderous applause. The former Cowboy movie hero met the greeting with a good deal of humility, but he went on to milk the adoration to reinforce the Economic Reforms he was pushing in the speech. Some 40 Democrats would "cross the aisle" to make Reagan's economic package a reality.
  • September 24, 2015, Pope Francis. After meeting with President Obama, His Holiness addressed a Joint Session of Congress during his visit to North America. The Pope was invited to make his Address as a Head of State (Vatican City) rather than in His spiritual capacity. Still, the Papal Address was seen as a measure of increased tolerance; just a few decades in the past, Candidate John Kennedy had to promise that he would not be under Papal orders if elected to the Presidency. 

See also: State of the Union Addresses.

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2021 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

These classic recordings are available in the following formats:

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  • MP3 CDs are delivered by mail. These archival quality MP3 CDs are playable in your computer and many MP3 player devices.



    43 recordings on 2 MP3 CDs for just $10.00. Total playtime 31 hours, 8 min
    43 recordings on 2 MP3 CDs for just $10.00
    total playtime 31 hours, 8 min
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    Volume 1 - 25 shows - total playtime 14 hours 23 minutes
    MP3 CD
    Volume 1: 5.00
    Add To Cart
    1. Joint Session Congress 19411208 Franklin D Roosevelt.mp3
    2. Joint Session Congress 19411226 Winston Churchill.mp3
    3. Joint Session Congress 19430519 Winston Churchill.mp3
    4. Joint Session Congress 19450301 Franklin D Roosevelt.mp3
    5. Joint Session Congress 19450416 Truman First Addrss Congress.mp3
    6. Joint Session Congress 19450519 Winston Churchill.mp3
    7. Joint Session Congress 19460525 Harry S Truman.mp3
    8. Joint Session Congress 19470312 Harry S Truman.mp3
    9. Joint Session Congress 19510419 Douglas Macarthur.mp3
    10. Joint Session Congress 19610000 Jfk State Union .mp3
    11. Joint Session Congress 19610106 Nixon Certif 1960 Pres Vote.mp3
    12. Joint Session Congress 19610525 John F Kennedy.mp3
    13. Joint Session Congress 19631127 Lyndon Johnson.mp3
    14. Joint Session Congress 19650315 Lyndon Johnson.mp3
    15. Joint Session Congress 19720601 Richard Nixon.mp3
    16. Joint Session Congress 19740812 Gerlad Ford.mp3
    17. Joint Session Congress 19750410 Gerlad Ford.mp3
    18. Joint Session Congress 19810218 Reagan Pres Economic .mp3
    19. Joint Session Congress 19810428 Reagan Econ Recovery Prog.mp3
    20. Joint Session Congress 19810428 Ronald Reagan.mp3
    21. Joint Session Congress 19850220 Margaret Thatcher.mp3
    22. Joint Session Congress 19890209 Bush Presidential Economic .mp3
    23. Joint Session Congress 19910000 Bush Desert Storm Victory.mp3
    24. Joint Session Congress 19910306 George Bush.mp3
    25. Joint Session Congress 19930217 Clinton Economic.mp3
    Volume 2 - 18 shows - total playtime 16 hours 45 minutes
    MP3 CD
    Volume 2: 5.00
    Add To Cart
    1. Joint Session Congress 19930922 Clinton Health Care.mp3
    2. Joint Session Congress 19930923 Bill Clinton.mp3
    3. Joint Session Congress 20010106 A.Gore Certif 2000 Pres Vote.mp3
    4. Joint Session Congress 20010227 Bush Presidential Economic .mp3
    5. Joint Session Congress 20010920 Bush 911 Attacks.mp3
    6. Joint Session Congress 20010920 George W Bush.mp3
    7. Joint Session Congress 20030717 Tony Blair.mp3
    8. Joint Session Congress 20090108 Cheney Certif 2008 Pres Vote.mp3
    9. Joint Session Congress 20090224 Obama Presidential Economic .mp3
    10. Joint Session Congress 20090909 Barack Obama.mp3
    11. Joint Session Congress 20090909 Obama Health Care.mp3
    12. Joint Session Congress 20150303 Benjamin Netanyahu.mp3
    13. Joint Session Congress 20150924 Pope Francis.mp3
    14. Joint Session Congress 20160608 Narendra Modi.mp3
    15. Joint Session Congress 20170106 Biden Certif 2016 Presl Vote.mp3
    16. Joint Session Congress 20180425 Emanuel Macron.mp3
    17. Joint Session Congress 20190403 Jens Stoltenberg.mp3
    18. Joint Session Congress 20210106 Pence Certif 2020 Pres Vote.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    43 recordings on 2 MP3 Collection Downloads for just $10.00. Total playtime 31 hours, 8 min
    43 recordings on 2 MP3 Collection Downloads for just $10.00
    total playtime 31 hours, 8 min
    Add MP3 CD Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


    Volume 1 - 25 shows - total playtime 14 hours 23 minutes
    Instant Download
    Volume 1: $5.00
    Add To Cart
    1. Joint Session Congress 19411208 Franklin D Roosevelt.mp3
    2. Joint Session Congress 19411226 Winston Churchill.mp3
    3. Joint Session Congress 19430519 Winston Churchill.mp3
    4. Joint Session Congress 19450301 Franklin D Roosevelt.mp3
    5. Joint Session Congress 19450416 Truman First Addrss Congress.mp3
    6. Joint Session Congress 19450519 Winston Churchill.mp3
    7. Joint Session Congress 19460525 Harry S Truman.mp3
    8. Joint Session Congress 19470312 Harry S Truman.mp3
    9. Joint Session Congress 19510419 Douglas Macarthur.mp3
    10. Joint Session Congress 19610000 Jfk State Union .mp3
    11. Joint Session Congress 19610106 Nixon Certif 1960 Pres Vote.mp3
    12. Joint Session Congress 19610525 John F Kennedy.mp3
    13. Joint Session Congress 19631127 Lyndon Johnson.mp3
    14. Joint Session Congress 19650315 Lyndon Johnson.mp3
    15. Joint Session Congress 19720601 Richard Nixon.mp3
    16. Joint Session Congress 19740812 Gerlad Ford.mp3
    17. Joint Session Congress 19750410 Gerlad Ford.mp3
    18. Joint Session Congress 19810218 Reagan Pres Economic .mp3
    19. Joint Session Congress 19810428 Reagan Econ Recovery Prog.mp3
    20. Joint Session Congress 19810428 Ronald Reagan.mp3
    21. Joint Session Congress 19850220 Margaret Thatcher.mp3
    22. Joint Session Congress 19890209 Bush Presidential Economic .mp3
    23. Joint Session Congress 19910000 Bush Desert Storm Victory.mp3
    24. Joint Session Congress 19910306 George Bush.mp3
    25. Joint Session Congress 19930217 Clinton Economic.mp3
    Volume 2 - 18 shows - total playtime 16 hours 45 minutes
    Instant Download
    Volume 2: $5.00
    Add To Cart
    1. Joint Session Congress 19930922 Clinton Health Care.mp3
    2. Joint Session Congress 19930923 Bill Clinton.mp3
    3. Joint Session Congress 20010106 A.Gore Certif 2000 Pres Vote.mp3
    4. Joint Session Congress 20010227 Bush Presidential Economic .mp3
    5. Joint Session Congress 20010920 Bush 911 Attacks.mp3
    6. Joint Session Congress 20010920 George W Bush.mp3
    7. Joint Session Congress 20030717 Tony Blair.mp3
    8. Joint Session Congress 20090108 Cheney Certif 2008 Pres Vote.mp3
    9. Joint Session Congress 20090224 Obama Presidential Economic .mp3
    10. Joint Session Congress 20090909 Barack Obama.mp3
    11. Joint Session Congress 20090909 Obama Health Care.mp3
    12. Joint Session Congress 20150303 Benjamin Netanyahu.mp3
    13. Joint Session Congress 20150924 Pope Francis.mp3
    14. Joint Session Congress 20160608 Narendra Modi.mp3
    15. Joint Session Congress 20170106 Biden Certif 2016 Presl Vote.mp3
    16. Joint Session Congress 20180425 Emanuel Macron.mp3
    17. Joint Session Congress 20190403 Jens Stoltenberg.mp3
    18. Joint Session Congress 20210106 Pence Certif 2020 Pres Vote.mp3
  • Standard Audio CDs are delivered by mail on archival quality media with up to 60 minutes on each CD and play in all CD players



    43 recordings on 31 Audio CDs. Total playtime 25 hours, 49 min
    43 recordings on 31 Audio CDs
    total playtime 25 hours, 49 min

    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A001

    1. Joint Session Congress 19411208 Franklin D Roosevelt
    2. Joint Session Congress 19411226 Winston Churchill
    3. Joint Session Congress 19430519 Winston Churchill
    4. Joint Session Congress 19450301 Franklin D Roosevelt

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A002

    1. Joint Session Congress 19450416 Truman First Addrss Congress

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A003

    1. Joint Session Congress 19450519 Winston Churchill
    2. Joint Session Congress 19460525 Harry S Truman

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A004

    1. Joint Session Congress 19470312 Harry S Truman
    2. Joint Session Congress 19510419 Douglas Macarthur

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A005

    1. Joint Session Congress 19610000 Jfk State Union
    2. Joint Session Congress 19610106 Nixon Certif 1960 Pres Vote

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A006

    1. Joint Session Congress 19610525 John F Kennedy

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A007

    1. Joint Session Congress 19631127 Lyndon Johnson

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A008

    1. Joint Session Congress 19650315 Lyndon Johnson

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A009

    1. Joint Session Congress 19720601 Richard Nixon
    2. Joint Session Congress 19740812 Gerlad Ford

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A010

    1. Joint Session Congress 19750410 Gerlad Ford

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A011

    1. Joint Session Congress 19810218 Reagan Pres Economic

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A012

    1. Joint Session Congress 19810428 Reagan Econ Recovery Prog
    2. Joint Session Congress 19810428 Ronald Reagan

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A013

    1. Joint Session Congress 19850220 Margaret Thatcher

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A014

    1. Joint Session Congress 19890209 Bush Presidential Economic

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A015

    1. Joint Session Congress 19910000 Bush Desert Storm Victory

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A016

    1. Joint Session Congress 19910306 George Bush

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A017

    1. Joint Session Congress 19930923 Bill Clinton

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A018

    1. Joint Session Congress 20150924 Pope Francis

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A019

    1. Joint Session Congress 20160608 Narendra Modi

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A020

    1. Joint Session Congress 20170106 Biden Certif 2016 Presl Vote

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A021

    1. Joint Session Congress 20180425 Emanuel Macron

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A022

    1. Joint Session Congress 20190403 Jens Stoltenberg

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A023

    1. Joint Session Congress 20010106 A.Gore Certif 2000 Pres Vote

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A024

    1. Joint Session Congress 20010227 Bush Presidential Economic

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A025

    1. Joint Session Congress 20010920 Bush 911 Attacks

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A026

    1. Joint Session Congress 20010920 George W Bush

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A027

    1. Joint Session Congress 20030717 Tony Blair

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A028

    1. Joint Session Congress 20090108 Cheney Certif 2008 Pres Vote

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A029

    1. Joint Session Congress 20090224 Obama Presidential Economic

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A030

    1. Joint Session Congress 20090909 Barack Obama

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    Joint Sessions of Congress Disc A031

    1. Joint Session Congress 20090909 Obama Health Care

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