(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden is set to lay out more of his policy agenda and provide an update to the nation in his first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night, with a Republican response to follow.
Where can I watch?
ABC Television Network and ABC News Live special coverage of the president’s address and the GOP response begins at 9 p.m. ET. Those who have participating TV provider accounts can also access coverage on abc.com or the ABC app.
ABC News Live’s streaming coverage begins with a two-hour special episode of ABC News Prime beginning at 7 p.m. ET.
Where will the address happen?
Biden will deliver his remarks inside the House chamber, in the heart of the U.S. Capitol.
What will the president talk about?
Called a joint address in the president’s first year, the remarks will be similar to a State of the Union address. Biden is expected to lay out his policy agenda for the rest of his tenure and he is also expected to roll out policy details for the second part of his infrastructure legislation proposal and some details about how he plans to fund it, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week in a press briefing.
“He will lay out the specific details of the American Families Plan in that speech, but he will also talk about a range of priorities that he has for the upcoming months of his presidency, including putting in place — working with Congress to put in place — police reform, including doing more to expand access to affordable health care,” Psaki said in a briefing Tuesday.
Who will be there?
Approximately 200 lawmakers will be able to attend the address and they won’t be allowed to bring any guests, in a shift from the event’s usual proceedings. The number of attendees is limited due to COVID-19 safety restrictions. Any lawmakers who were not invited are not even allowed inside the Capitol after 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
First lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Douglas Emhoff will also be there.
Republican House Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. and some other prominent Republicans have decided not to go and are instead giving their tickets to freshman members.
“They are only letting like 25 Republicans in the chamber, so a lot of the freshmen want to go and they haven’t been to one before,” Scalise told reporters in Florida on Monday.
Other members of the Republican leadership and leaders of committees are expected to attend, including prominent Republicans like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and GOP Conference Chair Sen. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. On the Democratic side, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has given out tickets to party leaders and committee chairs.
Some traditional elements will also be lost — for example the first lady will not have a box of guests, Psaki said Monday. Normally, the president would incorporate vignettes about the guests in attendance.
Additionally, the only member of the Supreme Court set to attend the address is Chief Justice John Roberts, according to a Supreme Court spokesperson.
Who will give the Republican response?
South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott has been tapped to deliver the Republican response to Biden’s address.
Scott, the only Black Republican senator, has been described by GOP leaders as the right voice to rebut Biden’s remarks.
“I think it will be an excellent outline of what our party believes ought to be the direction of the country,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday.
Scott has been leading negotiations on policing reform legislation for the Republican Party, working closely with Democrats to reach a bipartisan deal.
“We face serious challenges on multiple fronts, but I am as confident as I have ever been in the promise and potential of America. I look forward to having an honest conversation with the American people and sharing Republicans’ optimistic vision for expanding opportunity and empowering working families,” Scott said in a statement released last week about his speech.
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