Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson is skipping tonight's State of the Union address, acting as the traditional holdout in case of a catastrophic attack or accident at the Capitol.

House and Senate leaders from both parties this year also asked four top lawmakers to skip the speech.

North Dakota's Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan, Republican Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia, Democratic Congressman George Miller of California are not in the House chamber for this year's address. The name of the Republican Senator who skipped the speech was not immediately known.

Congressional leaders' offices said the absent lawmakers would be in locations away from the Capitol.