Masks distanced applause: Small crowd planned for Biden's first speech to Congress

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In his many years in elected office, President Joe Biden attended dozens of his predecessors' joint addresses to the U.S. Congress, however, the scene he faces while he takes the rostrum on the house of Representatives on Wednesday will look very special.

just two hundred humans, on the whole lawmakers plus a handful of representatives of different arms of the presidency and pick family contributors, will attend the masked, socially distanced speech, in a nod to the COVID-19 pandemic that has now not fully launched the nation from its grip.

this is a far cry from the 1,600 officials, buddies, and guests who generally acquire for a presidential speech.

"it will likely be its personal man or woman, it will be its own top-notch character," said the residence of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a fellow Democrat. "We went from 1, six hundred humans to 2 hundred humans. that is one of a kind dynamic, however, it has its personal really worth."

First female Jill Biden could be in attendance, as will Douglas Emhoff, VP Kamala Harris's husband. U.S. chief Justice John Roberts and the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of the team of workers, standard Mark Milley, can even attend, a Capitol reputable concerned with the planning of the occasion said.

Harris, in her role as president of the Senate, and Pelosi can be seated immediately in the back of Biden - the first time girls have held those positions of power at some point of a presidential cope with.

much less than half of the 535 contributors of Congress will be allowed to attend, based on health steerage from the residence health practitioner.

LOTTERY, OR provide THEM TO the brand new contributors?

the 2 events in Congress handled their restricted allocations of tickets differently. Senate Democrats held a lottery for their contributors, with Mazie Hirono scoring one of the coveted seats. Bernie Sanders, one in all Biden's rivals for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, also stated he would attend.

Republicans had been less captivated with the seats. house Minority leader Kevin McCarthy plans to wait, but his No. 2, Steve Scalise, said he was giving his price tag to a newly elected colleague.

"a variety of the novices need to head, and that they haven't been before," Scalise stated.

amongst different prominent Republicans who stated they were no longer planning to attend was Senator Josh Hawley, who, together with lots of his opposite numbers within the house, voted on Jan. 6 to try to block Biden's election victory, hours after supporters of then-President Donald Trump, fired up by his false claims the 2020 election have been marred by means of fraud, stormed the Capitol.

One Republican senator who did say he could be inside the room became Lindsey Graham, a vocal Trump ally and a colleague of Biden when the president turned into a senator.

"I just need to move. got not anything else to do," Graham joked to newshounds. Turning extreme, he added: "I need to hear the president. I suppose we should move if we will, out of admire for the workplace."