When President Joe Biden gives his first official speech to Congress as president on April 28, he will lack one of the biggest traps of such appearances: a house full of enough.
Rep. Steny Hoyer, the second Democrat in the House and in charge of floor scheduling, told reporters on Wednesday Biden’s speech will have a limit on the number of people that can attend, a weak factor capable of reducing noise and ruffling. usual.
“There will be a limited number of attendees because of COVID-19 and the number of people you can gather together in a relatively small setting,” said Hoyer during his weekly meeting with members of the press.
The Chamber of the House of Representatives will be used for the address and although it has 435 regular representatives, additional rooms have been created for joint addresses to allow senators, US Supreme Court judges. and the cabinet members in attendance, in addition to the guests in the packed galleries upstairs.
Hoyer says that won’t happen this year, but he didn’t give specifics on how limited attendance is.
“I don’t know the specifics and I don’t want to talk about specific numbers but there may be a limited number of members from the House, from the Senate, the Supreme Court, the embassy and from other entities. , ”Says Hoyer.
Mr. Hoyer said, Biden would be able to bring guests in, allowing him to continue the tradition from the 1980s to have presidential guests who could just clap their hands during a speech. In 2020, then President Donald Trump presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to right-wing radio presenter Rush Limbaugh, who passed away during his speech.
Although this would be his first appearance before a joint congressional session as president, Biden has attended many such sessions before and is behind Barack Obama as vice president of Obama in the last Democratic administration.
Usually, such a speech comes before the White House budget announcement and is used to outline key proposals that the administration is expected to push for next year. But the bill is late, as the White House and the Democratic Congress say they want to wait at least until the $ 1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill is completed before scheduling a speech. expression. As of now, there’s still no release date for Biden’s budget, and the speech will take place near Biden’s 100th day in office, around a time his White House has set a deadline to hit some items. pepper.
Hoyer says the government has stepped in with a policy of restricting attendance.
“The president and his people have health concerns and hence limit concerns. So that’s part of the equation for how many people could be at that address, ”he said.
Another factor in the drop in attendance is that the House of Representatives will be off meeting that week and not be called back to Washington, Hoyer said. However, the Senate is scheduled to meet that week.