That’s right, Judy.
We have never seen an address like this in U.S. history. And it’s possible, we may not ever see one like this again. Because of COVID restrictions, let me run through a little bit about what’s going to happen in the House chamber tonight.
First of all, just 200 people total, about that many, will be in the chamber for that speech. That’s different than the 1,400 that are usually crammed in side by side, even up in the galleries.
Now, tonight, everyone in the chamber will have needed to either be tested negative for COVID or prove that they are fully vaccinated, meaning two weeks after that final vaccination shot.
And to space out the lawmakers that will be in there, they will be using the balconies. So, it’s hard for me to say what people will be seeing, but likely you will be seeing lawmakers dotted throughout the chamber. I was able to get in there and look, and you will see that some rows only have one person in them. Republicans are seated on one side of the chamber, Democrats on the other.
They had been mixing that up in years past, but, this year, it looks like they will keep them in partisan aisles.
Now, as much as I think that that will be the dominant image, this strange image of lawmakers dotting the House chamber, we will also have something else unprecedented happening tonight. That will be the two people standing behind President Biden will be two women for the first time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris, because she is the president of the Senate.
So, that is something also to look forward to. And, in addition, we will have the first address from an African American Republican senator be in the response for the Republicans, Tim Scott. He told me he’s been practicing for days.
And we know a little bit about what he’s going to say. To counter President Biden’s message of his agenda, we expect Senator Scott to talk about the Republican agenda, the idea that Republicans are the party of opportunity. And he will say that the economy was at its best before the pandemic, when Republicans were in charge.
And he will make an argument that Republicans should be back in charge again.