Republicans are planning to SNUB Biden’s first address to Congress – even though only 200 people can attend
- Several Republicans are planning to snub President Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday
- The session will fall near the 100 Day mark of Biden’s presidency, but comes as only the Senate is in session and the House is not
- Only 200 members are allowed to attend to accommodate for social distancing
- Many Republicans, from both chambers, have already said they don’t want to go
- Others, have said it’s Congress’ duty to open up the address for all members
- Rep. Claudia Tenney led a group of GOP lawmakers demanding Nancy Pelosi change the date to when they are in session and open the speech to all members
Several Republican lawmakers are planning to snub President Joe Biden’s first address to Congress on Wednesday as the joint session is limited to 200 attendees in the midst of the pandemic.
‘I don’t think I’ll probably attend,’ Iowa Senator Joni Ernst told Punchbowl News.
Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, a staunch Trump ally, said: ‘I haven’t decided… I don’t know if I’ll go to this one or not. We’ll see.’
When Senator. Tom Cotton of Arkansas was asked the same thing, he laughed and said: ‘No comment.’
Biden’s speech falls around his 100th day in office, and occurs while the Senate is in session but the House is not.
Republicans are planning to snub President Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday
The House is out of session next week, but even Republican senators say they don’t plan to attend. ‘I don’t think I’ll probably attend,’ Iowa Senator Joni Ernst (left) said. Missouri Senator Josh Hawley (right) said: ‘I don’t know if I’ll go to this one or not’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in charge of the logistics, and a group of GOP members sent her a letter requesting she change the date to a time when they are in session.
The group, led by Rep. Claudia Tenney of New York, also requested Pelosi open the speech to all members.
‘In our nation’s history, it is unprecedented to convene a joint session of Congress such as this without extending an invitation to all Members of Congress,’ Tenney wrote.
‘We understand the need to prioritize the safety of Members and believe strongly that with the right precautions and social distancing measures a space designed to accommodate almost 1,000 individuals can operate at about 50 percent capacity to safely accommodate all members of the House and Senate who attend,’ she continued.
During the January 3 Capitol swearing in ceremony, all members of both chambers were allowed to be there. Tenney noted that in her letter.
It does not appear Pelosi has responded yet to the letter.
Ohio Representative Jim Jordan said he wants to attend Biden’s address and hopes the invitation gets extended to the whole of Congress.
‘I would frankly prefer to go. I think the whole House should be there,’ Jordan told Punchbowl. ‘He’s supposed to be talking to Congress.’
Ticket allotment has not been revealed, but it will be divided in some way among House Democrats, House Republicans, Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans. Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will be in charge of deciding which of their respective members will receive the limited number of tickets.
Rep. Claudia Tenney of New York led a group of GOP lawmakers demanding Pelosi change the date to when they are in session and open the speech to all members
Texas Representative Rodney Davis of Illinois said: ‘I’m not going to go.’
‘They announced it late and we already have plans for our week not being here,’ he continued, referencing plans he made knowing the House won’t be in session next week.
‘I am not [going],’ former Vice President Mike Pence’s brother Representative Greg Pence said. ‘I have a Lincoln Day dinner back at home.’
South Carolina Representative Nancy Mace said: ‘That’s an in-district week, so I’ll be in the district.’
The whole event won’t just be filled with Democrats, though.
Despite several Republicans claiming they won’t attend – even if given an invitation – there are some who say they would prefer to go.
Tennessee Senator Masha Blackburn said: ‘I imagine we’ll attend.’
‘I’m planning on it,’ said centrist Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski.
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he’ll attend if invited. ‘I don’t agree with his policies but he’s a fine man,’ he said.
Biden’s first address to the body where he served for 36 years will be a scaled-down affair due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Behind the president for the amended joint session will sit Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris.