Women make history as Pelosi, Harris to flank Biden for speech

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Apr 29 2021 06:58 AM

Women make history as Pelosi, Harris to flank Biden for speech 1
US President Joe Biden (from left) with Vice-President Kamala Harris, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (New York-D), and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (California-D), arrives to speak about the American Rescue Plan in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 12, 2021. Olivier Douliery, AFP/file

When US President Joe Biden on Wednesday addresses a joint session of Congress for the first time, history will be made behind him, with two powerful women taking their places on the rostrum for the first time.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been in the position before during presidential speeches.

But with the addition this time of Kamala Harris, the nation's first female vice president, the two people seated behind and on either side of Biden who Americans see on their TV screens during the primetime address will be women.

It marks a milestone in the nation's nearly 245-year history, and female lawmakers noted the symbolism regarding the strides that women have taken to reach positions of American power.

"Like so many women, I feel pride in this moment and seeing this representation," House Democrat Barbara Lee posted on Twitter. "It's long overdue."

It also marks a first of another sort: both the speaker and the vice president will be wearing masks, a key plank of policies implemented in Congress beginning last year to guard against the spread of the coronavirus.

Harris and Pelosi are the first and second, respectively, in the presidential line of succession.

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