President Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday will look like no other in recent memory.
Set for April 28, the speech will unfold against the backdrop of heightened security in the aftermath of the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot and ongoing coronavirus protocols.
Just days before Biden’s 100th day in office, the bicameral setting will provide him an opportunity to update the American public on his progress toward fulfilling his promises. It will also give him a chance to make the case for the $2.3 trillion infrastructure package he unveiled recently, which the House is aiming to pass by July 4.
Rather than gathering all lawmakers at once in the House chamber, as traditionally happens, only 200 representatives and senators will be allowed in the chamber under the COVID-19 social distancing protocols.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is leaving it to each leader to decide who gets the golden ticket meaning Senate Majority and Minority Leader, Schumer and McConnell, respectively, will be attending and probably House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Based on comments made by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Pelosi gave Democrats and Republicans an equal number of tickets to each chamber.
A day before the big speech, the guest list remains guarded; however, we do know that Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts is in but the rest of the Supremes are out.
As for the Cabinet, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are scheduled to attend. And on behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley.
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) will be there but most of her fellow GOP colleagues will be watching on TV.
“I’m hopeful that the president’s outreach is a signal of his willingness to work together,” the Staten Island congresswoman, who will face a tricky reelection fight in 2022.