Joe Biden's Joint Address to Congress Won't Be Attended by All Members

President Joe Biden is set to address a joint session of Congress on April 28, just two days before his 100th day in office.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi extended the invitation to Biden Tuesday. "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!" she wrote in a letter. "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."

Because of social distancing protocols prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, not all members of Congress will be present in the House chamber. Limited numbers of representatives and senators will be allowed in the room during the speech, and lawmakers will be seated in the upstairs visitors' gallery in addition to sitting on the House floor.

Friends, family and special guests will not be allowed to attend the speech.

President Donald Trump gave his first joint address to Congress in late February 2017. His final State of the Union Address was given in February 2020, before the pandemic took hold in the U.S. President Barack Obama gave his first presidential address to a joint session in February 2009.

Biden Address Congress
President Joe Biden speaks during a lying-in-honor ceremony for Capitol Police officer William Evans on April 13. Evans was killed during an attack outside the Capitol on April 2. Amr Alfiky-Pool/Getty Images

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

The AP confirmed that the White House accepted Pelosi's invitation.

The speech will be designated a National Special Security Event, according to a Capitol official involved in the planning and granted anonymity to discuss the situation on Wednesday.

It will provide Biden an opportunity to update the American public on his progress toward fulfilling his promises. It will also give him a chance to make the case for the $2.3 trillion infrastructure package he unveiled recently, which the House is aiming to pass by July 4.

But security remains tight at the Capitol, patrolled by National Guard troops and surrounded by fencing, after a mob loyal to Trump stormed the building January 6 in a deadly riot to try to undo Biden's election victory.

Social distancing restrictions have been in place during the pandemic, requiring House lawmakers to conduct floor votes and other business in smaller groups, rather than convening hundreds in the chamber at once.

Masks are required, and the public visitors' galleries, usually filled for such an event, have been closed during most of the pandemic.

Presidents don't deliver a State of the Union address to Congress until their second year in office.