President Joe Biden will address a joint session of Congress on April 28, the first time during his administration when he will speak before both chambers, the White House said late Tuesday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) formally invited the president to speak before both chambers, praising what she said was an era of “historic and transformative leadership.” The event itself will be historic, with two women presiding over the address for the first time: Pelosi and Kamala Harris, the first woman to be vice president.
Biden took office on Jan. 20, and his address will come roughly 100 days into his administration and after he has exceeded pledges to vaccinate 100 million Americans during that time. The nation’s vaccination blitz has continued to accelerate, although cases of COVID-19 have begun to climb in some areas once more.
“Nearly 100 days ago, when you took the oath of office, you pledged in a spirit of great hope that ‘Help Is On The Way.’ Now, because of your historic and transformative leadership, Help Is Here!,” Pelosi wrote in a letter Tuesday to Biden. “In that spirit, I am writing to invite you to address a Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday, April 28, to share your vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment.”
Biden met with lawmakers from both parties on Monday to tout his proposal for a $2 trillion infrastructure package, one of the biggest efforts of his tenure thus far, although the legislation faces a tough fight amid fierce Republican opposition. The president has said he’s willing to negotiate on the package.
“I’m prepared to negotiate as to the extent of my infrastructure project, as well as how we pay for it,” Biden said Monday, according to The Associated Press. “It’s going to get down to what we call ‘infrastructure.’”
The address later this month will be slightly delayed, as Pelosi initially cited the COVID-19 pandemic as grounds to postpone until consulting with the Office of the Attending Physician and the House Sergeant at Arms. Presidents usually address a joint session of Congress during their first weeks after taking office.
The Hill reported numerous health precautions will be in place during the address, adding that there will be a limited number of lawmakers in the chamber and some will be seated in the galleries overlooking the floor to allow for social distancing. Guests will also not be invited to the address.