The White House has yet to schedule a time for President Biden to deliver his first joint address to Congress, despite pledging to do so after the passage of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.
Presidents traditionally give a speech to Congress during their first year in office – often in February. An address to a joint session of Congress is like a State of the Union, though it is not called that until the president’s second year in office.
Typically, new presidents deliver their addresses just weeks after their inauguration.
Former President George H.W. Bush delivered one of the earliest addresses to a joint session, taking place on Feb. 9, 1989. Former President Trump delivered one of the latest – his address was on Feb. 28, 2017.
Former President Obama delivered his first address to Congress on Feb. 24, 2009; former President George W. Bush delivered his on Feb. 27, 2001; and former President Clinton delivered his on Feb. 17.
But White House press secretary Jen Psaki earlier this month said Biden intends to deliver an address to a joint session of Congress, but not until the American Rescuse Plan was signed into law – something that took place last week.
Psaki, though, assured last week that the president was not “snubbing” Congress in any way and maintained that the White House intends on the president delivering a speech.
The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the deliberations within the White House and with Congress with regard to the scheduling of the address.
Neither did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office nor Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Presidents, during their first congressional address, tend to establish the tone of their new administration, with optimistic language to look ahead and to set their legislative agenda as well as outline their positions on a range of policy issues.
Since taking office, Biden has signed dozens of executive orders, actions and directives, with government officials telling Fox News the moves are just “previews” of the agenda items the president will push in Congress. They have been focused on environmental regulations, the climate crisis, immigration policies, racial justice, health care and more.
Despite not yet delivering an address to Congress, the president last week, just hours after signing the American Rescue Plan into law, delivered his first primetime address, in which he directed states, tribes and territories to ensure all Americans are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination by May 1.
Biden also set a goal for Americans to begin holding gatherings by July 4.
Meanwhile, Biden has come under fire from members of the media for not yet holding a formal press briefing.
Trump waited 28 days into his presidency to hold a press conference, Obama waited just 21 days before holding one, and George W. Bush waited 34 days before taking questions from the press in a formal setting.
While the president has taken questions from time to time from reporters during White House events about his administration’s early actions, the White House has not yet scheduled a time for him to do so in a formal setting.
Psaki, who holds daily briefings for reporters, said last week that the president would do so before the end of the month.