Iowa Gov. Reynolds to give GOP response to Biden State of the Union
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will deliver the Republican response to President Biden’s State of the Union address next week, the top party leaders in the House and Senate announced Tuesday.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) cited Reynolds’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and signing of a law that prohibits schools from teaching critical race theory examining the legacy of slavery in American society. Both are hot-button cultural issues the GOP is making a central part of its campaign platform heading into this year’s midterm elections.
“She kept kids in school and critical race theory out,” McCarthy said.
Reynolds’s remarks will be aired on national television following Biden’s speech, which is set to begin shortly after 9 p.m. Eastern next Tuesday night.
“The Biden Administration is governing from the far-left, ignoring the problems of working-class Americans while pushing an agenda that stifles free speech, free thought, and economic freedom. The American people have had enough, but there is an alternative and that’s what I look forward to sharing on Tuesday evening,” Reynolds said in a statement.
She has served as Iowa governor since 2017 and was the first woman elected to the position.
Reynolds announced earlier this month that she would end the public health disaster proclamations that had been in place for Iowa since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago. She had long resisted calls from health professionals to issue a statewide mask mandate and did not require face coverings for large gatherings until November 2020, months after governors in other states had done so.
“We cannot continue to suspend duly enacted laws and treat COVID-19 as a public health emergency indefinitely,” Reynolds said in a statement, according to the Des Moines Register. “After two years, it’s no longer feasible or necessary. The flu and other infectious illnesses are part of our everyday lives, and coronavirus can be managed similarly.”
Biden’s State of the Union address will have numerous COVID-19 health protocols in place for all attendees. All members of Congress can attend, but they cannot bring guests to sit in the gallery like they could before the pandemic.
In addition, a notice from the House sergeant-at-arms last week emphasized that attendees will have to wear a KN95 or N95 mask at all times and present a negative COVID-19 test for entry.
Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), the only Black GOP senator, delivered the party’s response to Biden’s address last year to a joint session of Congress.