Donald Trump invited to address joint session of Congress Feb 28

US President Donald Trump, left, and US Vice President Mike Pence arrive to a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, on Jan 22, 2017.
US President Donald Trump, left, and US Vice President Mike Pence arrive to a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, on Jan 22, 2017.PHOTO: EPA

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Tuesday (Jan 24) that he has invited President Donald Trump to address a joint session of Congress late next month, an invitation in keeping with Washington tradition.

"Today I am inviting President Trump to address a joint session of Congress on February the 28th," Ryan told reporters.

"This will be an opportunity for the people and their representatives to hear directly from our new president about his vision and our shared agenda."

The White House and both chambers of Congress are now controlled by Republicans.

Trump will come to Congress as a change agent.

But he entered the White House with poor national approval ratings, and he may already have some repair work to do with the leadership and rank and file of his own Republican Party, after he offered a searing repudiation of the Washington establishment in his inauguration speech.

He is likely to address several of the objectives that he hopes to accomplish in the first 100 days of his presidency, notably a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, the health reforms implemented by his predecessor Barack Obama.

But the complex issue already appears to have set Trump on course for a possible clash with Republicans.

Shortly before his swearing-in, Trump told The Washington Post that he wants the replacement plan to provide "insurance for everybody," a proposal that usually has been opposed by his party.

Republicans in recent weeks have sought to shift the language to include a call to provide everyone with "access" to health care.

Ryan's formal invitation fulfills a tradition that provides an incoming president with the opportunity to address Congress within weeks of taking office.

A joint session of Congress usually occurs in the House of Representatives chamber, and is attended by all 100 US senators and 435 representatives.