It is now April, and President Joe Biden has yet to deliver an address to the joint chambers of Congress — an event that typically occurs at some point in the month of February.
In fact, a date still has not been set for Biden’s first speech to the House and Senate, despite repeated vows that it will occur “soon.” Now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is confirming that she hasn’t yet invited Biden to give his talk — and she’s trying any and all strategies to shift the blame for the delay.
According to Fox News, Pelosi cited concerns about the coronavirus and potential security threats at the Capitol when explaining to reporters Thursday that the decision of when to invite Biden for his annual speech is partly “in the hands of the Capitol physician, as well as the sergeants-at-arms.”
In other words, it still remains entirely unclear when — or even if — President Biden will deliver an in-person address to a joint session of Congress this year, and Pelosi is apparently done fielding questions on the subject.
“Whenever the president is ready”
As Fox noted, it was during Pelosi’s weekly press conference Thursday that the speaker was asked if she intends to formally invite Biden to address Congress “sometime soon.”
Pelosi replied that “of course” she would invite Biden to deliver a speech, but that it wasn’t all up to her.
“So, in terms of how we can do that, and how many people can be in the room and this or that will be — hopefully the more people who get vaccinated, the more people we can have in the room,” she said, according to a transcript from her office.
“And again, we’ll weigh the advice of the Capitol physician, the sergeant-at-arms, about how many people can be accommodated, but whatever the number we’ll be ready whenever the president is ready to come,” Pelosi said. “It’s a collaboration. We don’t pick a date, and they don’t pick it.”
“Definitely considering” it
The question of Biden’s joint address to Congress has also been frequently raised during White House press briefings over the last two months, and it came up yet again on Thursday, when Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated that Biden was “definitely considering” delivering the speech, though she again declined to provide a timeline on when that might occur.
“I can’t wait until we finally announce this because I know all — you all really want a date,” Psaki said, according to a White House transcript.
“We’re working with leaders in Congress to finalize that,” she added. “I just don’t have a date quite yet for you.”
With that, the question remains: What is Biden hiding from?