As an alternative of 1,600 individuals crowded right into a Home chamber for a daily State of the Union tackle, simply 200 individuals will probably be attending Biden’s first marquee occasion earlier than Congress, Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi mentioned Tuesday.
Some lawmakers have balked on the coronavirus restrictions and social distancing mandates put in place, particularly for the reason that 535 members of Congress have lengthy had entry to vaccinations.
In the meantime, different GOP lawmakers are annoyed that Pelosi invited Biden to talk when the Home was out of session and so they already made plans for occasions of their residence districts.
Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., are among the many GOP senators who won’t be attending.
Cotton and Hawley mentioned they’re deferring to the extra senior members of the Senate given the restricted house constraints, whereas Rubio additionally raised considerations in regards to the coronavirus guidelines.
“I cannot be attending, and one of many explanation why is the ticket numbers have been actually restricted; they’re making individuals sit within the gallery,” Rubio advised “Fox and Pals” Tuesday.
The Florida senator additionally known as out inconsistencies with the enforcement of coronavirus restrictions on the Capitol, dubbing it “foolish season.”
“It’s attention-grabbing — when it got here to coming collectively to question Donald Trump for the second time after he was out of workplace, they put 100 senators in the identical room sitting simply inches aside for hours at a time over 5 – 6 days,” Rubio mentioned. “Apparently COVID was not a difficulty then. However now, after all, for one thing like this we will not have that many individuals within the room sitting subsequent to one another. So it’s type of foolish season right here.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the highest GOP leaders in Congress, will probably be attending Biden’s speech, however Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., won’t be in Washington because of prescheduled political journey, in accordance with the Republican Whip’s workplace.
The Senate is in session in D.C. this week. However the Home just isn’t, so members wishing to attend must make particular preparations to journey again to the Capitol.
Home Republicans have been already gathered in Florida for a retreat that was to finish Tuesday, however a number of members, together with Florida GOP Reps. Kat Cammack and Byron Donalds, mentioned they already had deliberate occasions of their district that they don’t need to cancel to journey to attend Biden’s tackle.
“Speaker Pelosi and the Administration deliberate this occasion on an off-session day, and I had prior commitments within the state of Florida,” Donalds advised Fox Information in a press release. “Additionally, in an effort to scale back my carbon footprint, I believe it could be environmentally irresponsible for me or my colleagues to fly all the way in which to our nation’s Capital solely to listen to a speech.”
In the meantime, a bunch of lawmakers had earlier urged Pelosi to reschedule Biden’s tackle to when the Home was in session and to carry the coronavirus caps so extra members may attend.
“Scheduling this tackle for a day when the Home just isn’t in session and prohibiting Members of Congress from attending can be unprecedented and undermine the very spirit of our consultant, constitutional Republic,” the GOP lawmakers wrote.
The letter was authored by Republican Reps. Claudia Tenney of New York, Tom McClintock of California, Randy Weber of Texas, Russ Fulcher of Idaho, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Greg Steube of Florida, Van Taylor of Texas, Buddy Carter of Georgia and Invoice Johnson of Ohio.
Pelosi downplayed considerations Tuesday on whether or not the character of the normal occasion will probably be altered when Biden speaks to solely a small portion of Congress.
“It is going to be its personal character, will probably be its personal great character, no not frightened in any respect,” Pelosi advised reporters. “We went from 1,600 individuals to 200 individuals. That may be a completely different dynamic, however it has its personal value. “
In contrast to different joint addresses when senators and Home members have been all crammed collectively within the Home chamber, the restricted variety of lawmakers will probably be unfold throughout the Home flooring and into the balcony the place company are sometimes seated. No congressional company are allowed this 12 months.
It was as much as the Democratic and GOP leaders in each the Home and Senate to divvy up the restricted provide of tickets.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.; Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla.; Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala.; and Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., are among the many Republicans who scored seats and plan to attend Wednesday, in accordance with their places of work.