Attorney General Eric Holder will watch Obama's prime-time speech to Congress and the country from a secret location for security reasons.
Traditionally, a member of the president's Cabinet, along with designated members of Congress, stay away from such speeches in case disaster strikes the House chamber.
An administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the decision has not been publicly announced, said the attorney general will spend Tuesday evening at an undisclosed location.
White House officials declined to confirm that Holder had been the Cabinet member selected to stay away from the speech.
The speech comes a day after Holder's inspection tour of the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.