Biden to address Congress on April 28
President Biden on Tuesday is slated to address a joint session of Congress on April 28, roughly 100 days after he took office.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) invited Biden to make the address in a letter released publicly earlier that day. The president has accepted the invitation, a White House official confirmed late Tuesday night.
“Nearly 100 days ago, when you took the oath of office, you pledged in a spirit of great hope that ‘Help Is On The Way.’ Now, because of your historic and transformative leadership, Help Is Here!” Pelosi wrote in the letter.
“In that spirit, I am writing to invite you to address a Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday, April 28, to share your vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment,” Pelosi added.
Newly inaugurated presidents typically make their first address to Congress within weeks of taking office, though Biden had so far not done so due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But with most lawmakers and a growing number of staff now vaccinated, it’s a sign that congressional leaders feel more confident in gathering large groups in the House chamber.
Still, Biden’s first appearance before Congress as president won’t look like typical joint sessions of the past.
Numerous pandemic health precautions will remain in place. According to a Capitol official involved in the planning, there will be a limited number of House members and senators in the chamber. Some lawmakers will also be seated in the galleries overlooking the House floor to allow for additional social distancing.
Lawmakers further won’t be allowed to invite guests to the address, given that the visitors’ galleries are still closed to the public due to the pandemic.
The invitation comes after Biden secured his top legislative priority: a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. He’s now in the midst of trying to advance an infrastructure proposal, which is expected to receive action in Congress this summer.
The president met with bipartisan lawmakers from both chambers on Monday to discuss his infrastructure proposal. The White House has said it hopes to see progress on the package by Memorial Day, but it remains unclear if any Republicans will ultimately support the plan.
Other priorities Biden may outline to Congress include passage of voting rights legislation and gun law reforms in the wake of several recent mass shootings.
Updated: 10:21 p.m.