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All members of Congress can attend Biden's State of the Union, with COVID-19 restrictions

Biden to address nation amid Ukraine crisis
Biden faces challenges at home and abroad ahead of first State of the Union address 02:32

Washington — All members of Congress have been invited to attend President Biden's State of the Union address on March 1, with some pandemic-related restrictions and requirements, according to a new memo from the House sergeant at arms. 

Members won't be allowed to bring guests, as is typically tradition. Mandatory admission requirements include a negative daily health screening, a negative PCR test within one day of the speech and an FDA-authorized KN95 or N95 mask that covers the nose and mouth and must be worn at all times. Vaccines and booster shots are strongly encouraged, but not mandatory. Seating will be spaced out according to social distancing guidelines, as well.

The decision to extend the invitation to all members of Congress was made in consultation with the Office of Attending Physician, the House's top medical official, the memo said. Invitations to the president's joint address to Congress in April 2021 were limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Come March 1, the president will face a Congress that has failed to pass much of his legislative agenda, including sweeping voting access reform and his Build Back Better social spending plan. His speech also comes as Americans are unhappy with historic inflation rates weakening their spending power. Overseas, tensions with Russia are high, as the U.S. says Russia is capable of attacking Ukraine any day. 

The president's address also comes shortly after he plans to name a nominee for the Supreme Court. He has pledged to announce a Black woman to fill the seat that will be left vacant by Justice Stephen Breyer by the end of February. White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday he could begin interviewing nominees this week, although reporters pointed out to her the week is nearly over. 

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