AOC Unlikely to Attend Biden Address Due to ‘Very Strict COVID Provisions’

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sheds a tear during a February 7 press conference calling on Congress to cut funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and defund border detention facilities. SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said Friday that she will likely miss President Joe Biden’s first address to Congress later this month due to “very strict COVID protocols” that have been put in place.

Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks came during a virtual town hall meeting, where she claimed House leadership and senior members of Congress would be the first selected to attend the joint address.

“I would love to attend the joint address,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “Unfortunately there are very strict COVID provisions that the House has put in place.”

“So, I do not believe I will be able to enter the chamber for the joint address,” she added, noting that “senior members of House leadership” and Senate leaders would be chosen over her.

According to a report from Bloomberg, “the exact number of attendees is not yet decided, but there will be little more than 200 people in the chamber for Biden’s speech.” The House chamber, with its floor and gallery seating, can accommodate more than 1,000 people.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also stated Friday that most of the White House staff “will be watching virtually.”

“We’re determining how we can, of course, engage the public and ensure we highlight some of the incredible stories of people who have been helped by the president’s policies and proposals,” Psaki said. “But it will not look like or feel like, in many ways, what past joint addresses have.”

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