President Biden will deliver his first joint speech to Congress on Wednesday, reflecting on his first 100 days in office and shaping his administration’s legislative plans.
The speech will be an unusual affair by historical standards.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, attendance will be slim, with only around 200 people allowed in the House bedroom. Mr Biden’s remarks are also expected to combine elements of the traditional first joint speech and the State of the Union speech that presidents typically deliver later in their tenure.
Mr. Biden is expected to be broadly speaking out about his administration’s goals that will inform the debate in Congress in the weeks to come.
Here’s what to expect:
Who will be present?
With pandemic protocols in mind, Biden will speak in front of a small crowd of about 200 attendees, more than 80% fewer than in previous years.
And as increased security around the Capitol complex has remained in place since the January 6 riot, guests will not be allowed to bring guests.
With the House out of session this week, many lawmakers are not in Washington and only a few from each party are expected to attend in person.
A number of prominent senators – including Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, and Lindsey Graham, a Republican of South Carolina – have indicated they will leave.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is expected to be the only Supreme Court member present.
Is it different from the State of the Union?
In recent years, a President’s first speech to a joint session of Congress has had the semblance of a State of the Union speech, but it is not officially known as such. Much like the State of the Union, a president uses his first address to promote his political agenda, and Mr Biden has no ends of legislation to argue.
After working with Congress to pass a $ 1.9 trillion stimulus bill in March, Biden now hopes to sell lawmakers other far-reaching proposals, including an infrastructure-focused spending program and another on child care, community college tuition and paid family leave.
Regardless of the first joint address, the Constitution states that the President “shall from time to time communicate to Congress information on the State of the Union and recommend for their consideration such action as he deems necessary and appropriate.”
While it does not specify what time or how often a State of the Union speech is due, many presidents have waited until later in their term to do so.
With the United States in the throes of a pandemic that has left deep scars on the economy, Mr Biden is also expected to make his way in an assessment of the country’s progress and the accomplishments of his administration since taking office. function in January.
How can I follow?
Mr Biden is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. on Wednesday. The New York Times will provide video coverage of the address as well as live analysis and fact-checking.
The speech will also be broadcast live on YouTube and C-SPAN.