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Congresswoman Claudia Tenney and Colleagues Ask Pelosi to Reschedule Joint Address

April 19, 2021

Washington, DC -- Congressmembers Claudia Tenney (NY-22), Tom McClintock (CA-04), Randy Weber (TX-14), Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Lauren Boebert (CO-03), Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Dan Bishop (NC-09), Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), W. Gregory Steube (FL-17), Van Taylor (TX-03), Earl L. "Buddy" Carter (GA-01) and Bill Johnson (OH-06) sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today requesting she reschedule the April 28, 2021, Joint Address to Congress for a date when the House is actually in session. The House of Representatives is currently scheduled to be in a committee work period from April 26-30, meaning most Members will be working at home in their districts. 

They also called on the Speaker to invite all Members of Congress to attend, following reports that she only intends to invite a small number. The House Chamber can accommodate nearly 1,000 individuals, offering enough space for the 535 members of the United States House and Senate to attend if they choose while socially distancing and operating at or around 50 percent capacity. 

Full text of the letter is below and a signed copy can be downloaded here.

Madam Speaker:

You recently invited President Joseph R. Biden to deliver a Joint Address to Congress on the evening of April 28, 2021. As you know, this day falls during a week when only the Senate is in session and during which the House stands in recess for committee work. Additionally, it has recently been reported that only a small number of Members of Congress will be invited to attend this session, which would be unprecedented. We request that you reschedule this event for a day during which the House is in session and extend invitations to all Members of Congress. 

            In our nation’s history, it is unprecedented to convene a joint session of Congress such as this without extending an invitation to all Members of Congress. As you know, the House Chamber and House Gallery can accommodate about 950 individuals. We understand the need to prioritize the safety of Members and believe strongly that with the right precautions and social distancing measures a space designed to accommodate almost 1,000 individuals can operate at about 50 percent capacity to safely accommodate all members of the House and Senate who attend. We also want to remind you that on January 3, hundreds of members were on the House Floor for their swearing in, including hundreds of guests in the gallery. If it could be safely done then, it can be safely done now, especially with more members vaccinated than ever before. 

            We must not forget, Madam Speaker, that this is the People’s House. Our constituents sent us to Washington to represent them. Article II, Section 3, Clause I of the Constitution requires the President to provide periodic updates to Congress, and Congress has a duty to participate fully in this process. Scheduling this address for a day when the House is not in session and prohibiting Members of Congress from attending would be unprecedented and undermine the very spirit of our representative, constitutional Republic. We strongly oppose any effort to deny Members of Congress access to the People’s House and on behalf of those we represent, urge you to reschedule the event for a day the House is actually in session and ensure invitations are extended to all members. We kindly request your response before April 23, 2021.