Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi Make History as First Women to Lead Joint Congress Session

During President Joe Biden's congressional address on April 28, Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi became the first women to preside over a joint session of Congress. As Biden remarked, "It's about time."

By Lindsay Weinberg Apr 29, 2021 2:36 AMTags
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Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi are celebrating a historic moment in Congress with a pandemic-approved elbow bump. 

On Wednesday, April 28, President Joe Biden delivered his first joint address to Congress, with both Harris and Pelosi sitting behind him throughout his speech.

It's the first time two women have led a joint session of Congress in the United States' nearly 245-year history. In her role as second in command, Harris presides over the Senate, while Pelosi oversees the House of Representatives. 

"Madam Speaker, Madam Vice President," Biden said at the start of his speech. "No president has ever said those words from this podium. No president has ever said those words. And it's about time."

About 200 people are in attendance at the event inside the House chambers, per NBC News.

For those watching at home, it was the first time viewers saw two female politicians sitting on the dais behind the president's podium during such an address, given that Harris is the first female vice president. Pelosi made history in 2007 when she was chosen as the nation's first female Speaker of the House. 

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Social media users took note of Wednesday's big moment for the two politicians, who both hail from the Bay Area of California. As the official Time's Up group wrote on Twitter, "Let the weight of this moment sink in." 

Journalist Charlotte Wilder reflected, "Not to be sappy but when I was a kid I assumed women weren't allowed to be president. My mom was like no they are, they just haven't been." She added, "We're not there yet but little kids will see two women sitting behind the President and hopefully not assume what I did. Pretty huge!"

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Harris' niece, Meena, shared, "My kids are asking if the women 'get to talk too,'" along with a sobbing emoji.

Of course, cameras captured Harris' husband Doug Emhoff proving himself to be VP's biggest cheerleader from inside the chamber, as he was seen blowing kisses and waving enthusiastically from his seat.

Yet, according to the vice president herself, there shouldn't be anything special about her appearance. As tweeted by NBC News' Julie Tsirkin, Harris was asked, "What's the significance of two women sitting behind the President for the joint address tonight." 

Harris responded, "Normal."

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