President Joe Biden is scheduled to give his first joint address to Congress Wednesday night but some lawmakers will be skipping the limited event.
Instead of 1,600 people crowded into a House chamber for a regular State of the Union address, just 200 people will be attending Biden’s first marquee event before Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday.
Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., are among the GOP senators who won't be attending.
- Cotton and Hawley said they are deferring to the more senior members of the Senate given the limited space constraints
- A group of lawmakers had earlier urged Pelosi to reschedule Biden’s address to when the House was in session and to lift the coronavirus caps so more members could attend
Some lawmakers have balked at the coronavirus restrictions and social distancing mandates put in place, especially since the 535 members of Congress have long had access to vaccinations.
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there won’t be a designated survivor for the event amid the pandemic. U.S. presidents typically choose a top official to camp out at a secure location in case of a disaster that leads to the death of the president or cabinet officials.
"There does not need to be a designated survivor because the Cabinet will be watching from their offices or home, but they will not be joining him for the speech," Psaki said, according to Politico.
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