White House

With attendance limited due to the pandemic, many Cabinet officials won’t be in the Capitol for the speech.

Updated


There won’t be a designated survivor for President Joe Biden’s first joint address to Congress Wednesday night, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.

Typically, presidents designate a top official to camp out in a secure location in the case of a disaster that kills the president and cabinet officials. But this time, amid the coronavirus pandemic, things are different, with attendance for Biden’s speech limited to 200 lawmakers, Biden administration officials and staff.

“There does not need to be a designated survivor because the Cabinet will be watching from their offices or home, but they will not be joining him for the speech,” Psaki said.

With Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Secretary of State Antony Blinken all expected to attend the speech, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen would be the de facto designated survivor as the next in line of succession, assuming Yellen does not attend.

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