Some Republicans May Skip Biden's First Speech to Congress (Getty Images)
By Nick Koutsobinas | Thursday, 22 April 2021 04:24 PM
President Joe Biden will give his first address Congress on Wednesday, but some Republicans and Democrats may not be allowed to attend. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is overseeing the event's location and time, is also in charge of the number of invitations. Republican lawmakers have asked Pelosi to reconsider a time when both the Senate and the House of Representatives are both in session. Only the Senate will be in session for the scheduled date.
According to the New York Post, Rep. Claudia Tenney wrote a letter to Pelosi, asking the Speaker to reconsider the date and allow all Congress members to attend.
"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. 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."
Pelosi has not responded to the letter.
Invites for the occasion will be evenly distributed among members of each caucus. Pelosi will decide which House Democrats will go, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, which House Republicans will attend, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will pick amongst the Senate Democrats, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will choose which Senate Republicans will go.
Despite the invitations, several lawmakers may decline the offer entirely. When Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri was asked if he would attend, he responded with, "I don't know the answer to that," adding, "I haven't decided."
Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas laughed when asked, replying, "no comment."
Some Republicans did express a desire to go.
Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina said, "I don't agree with his policies, but he's a fine man."
"I would frankly prefer to go. I think the whole House should be there," Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio contended. "He's supposed to be talking to Congress."