Biden delivers first joint address to Congress

By Melissa Macaya, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 3:00 p.m. ET, June 29, 2021
44 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:14 a.m. ET, April 29, 2021

Biden is touting his administration's Covid-19 response. Here's a look at the latest US vaccination figures.

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

Chip Somodevilla/Pool/AP
Chip Somodevilla/Pool/AP

President Biden is touting his administration's Covid-19 response, including administering more than 200 million coronavirus vaccine shots since he took office.

"Thanks to the help of all of you," Biden told lawmakers. "We're marshaling, with your help, everyone's help, we're marshaling every federal resource."

The battle against Covid-19 has been a central part of Biden's first 100 days. The $1.9 trillion Covid-19 economic relief package passed in March was Biden's primary and most pressing legislative priority since taking office.

The legislation provided $14 billion for researching, developing, distributing, administering and strengthening confidence in vaccines. It also put $47.8 billion toward testing, contact tracing and mitigation, including investing in laboratory capacity, community-based testing sites and mobile testing units, particularly in medically underserved areas.

Here's a look at the latest figures on US vaccinations:

  • Nearly 235 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to data published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
  • The CDC reported that 234,639,414 total doses have been administered and about 78% of the 301,857,885 total doses have been delivered. 
  • That’s also about 2.2 million more doses reported administered since Tuesday, for a seven-day average of about 2.7 million doses per day. 
  • About 43% of the population – nearly 143 million people – have received at least one dose of vaccine
  • 29.5% of the population – more than 98 million people – are fully vaccinated, CDC data shows. 

Note: Data published by the CDC may be delayed, and doses may not have been given on the day reported.

CNN's Tami Luhby and Katie Lobosco contributed reporting to this post. 

9:21 p.m. ET, April 28, 2021

NOW: Biden delivers remarks to joint session of Congress

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden is delivering his first joint session address to Congress, a day before he marks his 100th day in office.

"My fellow Americans, while the setting tonight is familiar, this gathering is just a little bit different. A reminder of the extraordinary times we're in," Biden said. "Throughout our history, presidents have come to this chamber to speak to Congress, to the nation and to the world, to declare war, to celebrate peace, to announce new plans and possibilities. Tonight, I come to talk about crisis and opportunity."

The President is expected to tout his administrations accomplishments within his first 100 days including, his administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 570,000 Americans. The US recently surpassed 200 million Covid-19 shots administered since Jan. 20, which was double the original goal Biden had outlined of achieving 100 million shots in arms in the first 100 days.

Earlier this year, the Biden administration passed a sweeping $1.9 trillion Covid-19 emergency economic relief package, which included $1,400 checks to Americans, increased unemployment assistance, aid to states and municipalities and tax credits for families and certain low-income workers.

Biden is also expected to lay out parts of his American Families Plan, a roughly $1.5 trillion legislative proposal to invest hundreds of billions of dollars into key Democratic priorities on education, child care and paid leave. The plan is the second part of a two-part proposal to help the nation's economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Because of coronavirus restrictions, Biden's address to Congress is set to look unlike any other in modern American history. A limited number of lawmakers are attending the speech, and Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will both be wearing masks as they sit behind Biden. It will be the first time two women occupy the seats behind the President at a joint address to Congress.

9:21 p.m. ET, April 28, 2021

Biden thanks Pelosi and Harris in historic moment: "It's about time"

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just made history, becoming the first two women in Washington leadership to sit behind a current US President during a joint address to Congress.

"Madam speaker, madam vice president. No president has ever said those words from this podium. No president has ever said those words. And it's about time," Biden said.

The symbolism is something Biden was expected to acknowledge during his speech, according to sources familiar with the plan.

Though silent throughout the President's remarks, the vice president and the speaker's body language often serve as guideposts for how parties in the chamber react.

House Speaker John Boehner was sometimes seen grimacing behind then-President Barack Obama during his addresses to Congress. And Pelosi was famously seen ripping up her copy of President Trump's 2020 State of the Union address shortly after he finished speaking.

Given that both Pelosi and Harris are Democrats, expect frequent gestures of approval, like applause and standing ovations.

See the historic moment:

9:13 p.m. ET, April 28, 2021

President Biden has entered the House chamber

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

President Biden entered the House chamber for his first joint session address to Congress to a round of applause.

Biden was wearing his face mask as he greeted people with fist bumps as he walked toward the podium.

Once there he greeted Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi handing them copies of his speech. Pelosi then introduced the President.

Watch the moment President Biden entered the House chamber:

9:11 p.m. ET, April 28, 2021

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff blows air kisses and waves toward Harris

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff has entered the House chamber for President Biden's joint address to Congress.

When he took his seat in the gallery of the House chamber, Emhoff was seen blowing air kisses and waving toward his wife, Vice President Kamala Harris, who will be seated behind the President on the rostrum.

See second gentleman wave to VP Harris ahead of joint address: 

9:02 p.m. ET, April 28, 2021

First lady Jill Biden has entered the House chamber

First lady Dr. Jill Biden has entered the chamber ahead of the President's joint address to Congress.

The first lady's guests are watching the President's speech tonight remotely due to Covid-19 safety measures, the White House said in a release.

Watch the moment:

8:50 p.m. ET, April 28, 2021

Vice President Harris has entered the House chamber marking a historic moment

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Jim Watson/Pool/Getty Images
Jim Watson/Pool/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris entered the House chamber to a round of applause for President Biden's first joint session address to Congress.

In a historic moment, Harris will be seated behind the President with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the first female vice president and first female speaker of the House.

Once reaching the podium, Harris and Pelosi elbow bumped.

Watch the moment:

12:08 p.m. ET, April 29, 2021

More than a dozen members who objected to Electoral College on Jan. 6 will be in the chamber

From CNN's Ryan Nobles

Among the many important backdrops of the joint address tonight is that it will be delivered in the House chamber.

The same House chamber that was overwhelmed during the Capitol insurrection and the place where more than 100 Republican members of the House of Representatives voted to object to the results of the presidential election in an attempt to undermine President Biden’s victory.

Tonight in that same room, at least 13 Republican Senators and House Members who cast a vote to object to the Electoral College vote, will be there in person to watch Biden’s address. They are...

  • Sen. Tommy Tuberville
  • Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith
  • Sen. Roger Marshall
  • Rep. Garret Graves
  • Rep. Tom Cole
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
  • Rep. Troy Nehls
  • Rep. Carlos Gimenez
  • Rep. Lauren Boebert
  • Rep. Andy Biggs
  • Rep. Jim Jordan
  • Rep. Burgess Owens
  • Rep. William Timmons

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Rep. Sam Graves was attending Biden's address. Rep. Garret Graves was the lawmaker who attended the address. 

8:44 p.m. ET, April 28, 2021

GOP leaders counsel members that their reactions will be magnified with so few attendees

From CNN's Manu Raju

Lawmakers told CNN that Republicans have made clear to their members that the stakes are high in this speech, given that there will be so few members who will be allowed to attend and the cameras will be trained on the handful who will be on the floor for their reactions. 

GOP members have privately been reminded to act like adults and avoid embarrassing moments.

Sen. John Thune told CNN that attendees, "have to think about how they want to be perceived to the outside world." Some GOP rabble-rousers have not been invited to attend, such as controversial freshman Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Some context: The screening protocols put in place to enter the chamber are unprecedented and have caused tension between the two sides. Members have to prove they have been vaccinated, with both shots, or that they have a negative test within the last two days, or they'll be denied entry.

Republicans are already angry about this, arguing there is no reason to limit attendance when virtually everyone has been vaccinated. All pointing to what will truly be a historic and unprecedented speech.