What To Know About Biden’s Address To Congress

On the eve of his 100th day in office, President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak in front of both chambers of Congress for the first time. Biden’s address is set to begin at 9 p.m. ET, and is expected to cover a number of subjects, including a $1.8 trillion “American Families Plan.”

While some of the ceremony around the President’s address is expected, including his walk down the House aisle –– where he’ll be escorted by Sergeant-at-Arms William Walker –– pandemic restrictions are still in place. 

Everyone in attendance for the address will be required to wear a mask, and the crowd will be smaller, too. There’s also no designated survivor set for tonight’s address, since most cabinet members won’t be in attendance. 

Here’s what else you should know about Biden’s speech.

What is Biden going to say?

President Biden is expected to talk about his first 100 days as president, and will probably review several of the promises he made when he first took office. He promised a ramped up national vaccine distribution plan, action on climate change, and getting Americans another round of stimulus checks. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday (April 27) that Biden will focus on the “American Families Plan” while also addressing immigration, gun safety, police reform, and the coronavirus pandemic. 

His address comes as the FBI joins the investigation into the shooting death of Andrew Brown, Jr. by police in Elizabeth City, North Carolina last week. It’s also just eight days after a jury convicted Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd last May.

The nation has also seen several mass shootings in the first months of Biden's presidency and historic winter storms that have impacted Americans already dealing with the fallout of the pandemic.

Who’s Going To Be There?

As mentioned earlier, pandemic guidelines changed who can attend the speech. Normally, every member of Congress attends the address, and they even bring guests. No guests are allowed this year, and a limited number of lawmakers will be there for an estimated total of 200 people (socially-distanced throughout the chamber) compared to 1,600 people who are usually there. 

NPR reported that First Lady Jill Biden is expected to attend, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff. From the Supreme Court, only Chief Justice John Roberts will be there. And the only cabinet members expected to be in attendance are Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Also of note is that two women, vice president Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be seated behind the president for the first time during a Congressional address.

The Republican Response

Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, is to deliver the Republican response to Biden’s address. The South Carolina senator has reportedly been a key person in Congress’ negotiations on police reform legislation. Last year, Scott revealed a plan to reduce, not ban, the use of chokeholds in policing. 

“We face serious challenges on multiple fronts, but I am as confident as I have ever been in the promise and potential of America,” Sen. Scott said in a statement. “I look forward to having an honest conversation with the American people and sharing Republicans’ optimistic vision for expanding opportunity and empowering working families.”

How To Listen

The Black Information Network will air President Joe Biden's Joint Address to Congress tonight (April 28). BIN reporter Vanessa Tyler is set to anchor our live coverage, which starts at 9 p.m. ET across all BIN stations. 

BIN will also provide additional coverage of the Republican and Progressive Party responses to Biden's address. Listen herehttps://www.iheart.com/live/black-information-network-8666/

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