That Thing in Front of John Boehner
That object in front of Speaker Boehner is an important classical inkstand that has been a part of Congress since the early 1800s. It is in front of the Speaker at every State of the Union address.
Before the Speaker calls each session of the House to order, the coin silver inkstand is placed on the Speaker’s lectern. The inkstand is considered the oldest surviving relic of the House, dating from between 1810 and 1820.