A group of Republican House members have asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in a letter to reschedule President Joe Biden’s address to Congress to a time when Congress is not on leave and to invite all member of Congress rather than just a small group of lawmakers to the event.
“Scheduling this address for a day when the House is not in session and prohibiting Members of Congress from attending would be unprecedented and undermine the very spirit of our representative, constitutional Republic,” GOP Reps. Claudia Tenney (NY), Tom McClintock (CA), Randy Weber (TX), Russ Fulcher (ID), Lauren Boebert (CO), Louie Gohmert (TX), Dan Bishop (NC), Madison Cawthorn (NC), Greg Steube (FL) and Van Taylor (TX) wrote to Pelosi.
Biden is scheduled to address Congress on April 28, but next week is a committee work period for the House, so most members will be working in their home districts. The Senate is scheduled to be in session on that date.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said that guests will not be invited and that some Biden cabinet members, Ambassadors and Supreme Court justices would attend. Biden plans to tout his COVID relief efforts and talk up his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.
“We will not feel it necessary to have a session”
“We will not feel it necessary to have a session because there will be relatively few House members who will be in attendance,” Hoyer said. “And, of course, we are working that week. We’re just working in committee.”
But Republicans pointed out that the chamber where the speech is given accommodates 950 people and could still be at 50% capacity and accommodate all members of Congress safely.
The majority of members of Congress have been vaccinated, with an estimated 75 members still remaining unvaccinated.
“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,” they wrote. “As you know, the House Chamber and House Gallery can accommodate about 950 individuals. 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.”
Could there be another reason?
Could there be another reason Biden and the Democrats want to keep the audience small for Biden’s speech? Perhaps they know he’s not capable of the pomp and circumstance that usually surround the speech and want to keep it more low-key.
After all, there is a lot Biden has to answer for in just the three short months he has been in office: the ubiquitous executive orders, the border crisis, and the record-setting debt levels are just a few of his many egregious actions and their results so far.
Keeping the event as small as possible may mean that it goes largely unexamined by the press and Biden can escape questions he really doesn’t want to answer right now. It’s a strategy he employed during the campaign last year, and while most people didn’t think it would work, somehow it did.
Can’t wait to hear all the new gaffes that will come from the address and how Biden’s willing accomplices in the press cover for him yet again.