Biden will speak to an in-person audience of only about 200 people. Usually, a joint address to Congress is delivered by a president in the first year of his term, at the invitation of the Speaker of the House. Next year, he will deliver a State of the Union address.
Presidents give views in speech to get support for their agendas. This year, there is little hope that Biden will change anyone’s mind about anything. Since 1934, it has been delivered in Jan or Feb but it is happening in late April this year. Biden been pretty busy signing executive orders and actions, you know. And, his party is busy ramming through trillion-dollar legislation on purely party-line votes.
Due to pandemic this year, Biden and Pelosi will abide by mitigation mandates. Biden will speak to a limited amount of people in person. Usually, members of Congress, members of the Supreme Court, cabinet members, and staffers join president in the speech. Guests are invited by the president, the first lady, and members of Congress in a crowded room. The House chamber has a capacity of about 1,100 people and can be expanded with temporary seats and standing room. So, with only 200 people there, room will be empty.
This is all theatre. The lawmakers have been vaccinated by this point. So have the president, the first lady, the vice-president, and Speaker Pelosi. They could skip inviting on their vaccinations, but minimizing the invites of Biden’s audience and blaming it on the pandemic isn’t appropriate. If a feel-good mitigation measure is needed, mandate that all of the attendees wear a face mask. That is supposed to be mandatory on the floor of the House now anyway. Biden standing up and speaking, socially distanced from his audience, does not need to wear a mask so it will be interesting to see if he goes through with that. This is just like the embarrassing story of Biden wearing a face mask during a Zoom call with world leaders, all of whom were not masked, and rightly so. Who wears a face mask during a conference call?
The White House released a little information on who would attend and who would not.
This year, there will be a single representative of the U.S. Supreme Court on hand, and as of Friday morning, there were no plans for any Biden cabinet members to attend. First lady Jill Biden’s office didn’t immediately reply to a question about whether she’ll be in the chamber on Wednesday.
“Most of our staff, if not all of our staff, will be watching virtually,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday. She said she was unsure whether Jill Biden would attend, but that the first lady would not have “the traditional box” of seats in the gallery.
“We’re determining how we can, of course, engage the public and ensure we highlight some of the incredible stories of people who have be helped by the president’s policies and proposals,” Psaki said. “But it will not look like or feel like, in many ways, what past joint addresses have.”
She said it will be up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to decide whether audience members at the speech must be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Especially hard hit will be Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, known for showing up hours in advance in order to get an aisle seat. She is always shown on camera as she gets the attention of the president.
Some of the lawmakers who will attend will not be permitted in seats on the House floor, and instead will be assigned to areas in the gallery above for social distancing. Only about 20 members of the media will be permitted to physically attend.
Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas — known for typically arriving in the chamber hours before a presidential address to get an aisle seat and a chance to greet the president first-hand — said she was waiting for details on who can attend.
As has been the practice for the past two decades, the joint session has been officially designated a National Special Security Event, giving the Secret Service lead-agency status in coordinating, planning and exercising security.
Special credentialing procedures for attendees, as well as Covid testing or proof-of-vaccination requirements, are to be part of the run-up to the event.
This is all nonsense and should be discouraged. If Joe Biden is so fragile that he can’t perform his normal duties and speak before a vaccinated crowd of people, he needs to just stay at the White House and deliver a speech to a camera. Spare us the phony dramatics.
This is overacted. If Biden is unable to perform in front of vaccinated people than he should stay and White House and delivered the speech. Cut the crap and make peace!