Four members of Colorado's congressional delegation will be in the room Wednesday night when President Joe Biden delivers his first address to a slimmed-down, invite-only joint session of Congress.
Attendance at the speech in House chambers — Biden's first major indoor event since taking office — will be capped due to COVID-19 concerns at around 200 lawmakers rather than the typical crowd of as many as 1,200 officials and their guests that shows up in person to hear presidential addresses at the Capitol.
Colorado's two U.S. senators, Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, both Denver Democrats, plan to attend the speech, as do U.S. Reps. Joe Neguse, a Lafayette Democrat, and Lauren Boebert, a Silt Republican, their offices told Colorado Politics.
Congressional leadership from both parties issued invitations to Biden's speech, which takes place as his administration approaches its 100th day in office and amid plans to unveil details of the $1 trillion American Families Plan.
Bennet and Neguse are bringing virtual guests to the speech, as is U.S. Rep, Diana DeGette, a Denver Democrat. Democratic U.S. Rep. Jason Crow plans to hold a socially distanced watch party in Aurora.
The other members of the state's delegation — Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Arvada and Republican U.S. Reps. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs and Ken Buck of Windsor — also plan to watch the speech.
Bennet's guest will be Ambrosia Berg, a single mother from Boulder who will benefit from the one-year expansion of the Child Tax Credit, a proposal pushed by Bennet for years that was included in the pandemic relief legislation signed by Biden last month.
Dozens of Democratic senators are urging Biden to make the benefit permanent, citing research that shows it will cut the childhood poverty rate almost in half.
“President Biden can unite the country and earn the confidence of the American people by responding to the needs of moms like Ambrosia and millions of other parents across the country,” Bennet said in a statement.
Said Berg: “As a single mom who has worked hard to put herself through college and raise a child, I will have more money each month to cover my bills, buy groceries, make sure my son has the appropriate materials for school, and have all of our necessities met to make it through the pandemic."
Suzanne Crawford, CEO of Boulder's Sister Carmen Community Center, will be Neguse's guest, meant to highlight what he says is the need for permanent funding to support local food banks.
“Countless Coloradans dealt with economic hardship this past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Neguse said in a statement.
"Throughout a tough year, our local food banks have provided consistent and heroic support to our communities, shuttling federal COVID-19 relief funds to Coloradans in need and ramping up operations to ensure no one was left behind. Supporting the health and wellbeing of Colorado kids and families must begin by ensuring that everyone has food on their table, our food banks and long-term federal investments in nutrition assistance programs are critical to that effort.”
DeGette said she's inviting John Woolley, a 23-year U.S. Postal Service employee who has been delivering mail in a Denver neighborhood through the pandemic.
“Our letter carriers are some of the true unsung heroes of this pandemic,” DeGette said in a statement. “The work that John and his colleagues have done throughout this crisis cannot be praised enough. Their tireless dedication to helping others is second to none. We owe all of the brave men and women at the U.S. postal service a tremendous debt of gratitude for their service during these extremely trying times."
Lamborn told Colorado Politics he won't be celebrating the Biden administration's first 100 days, arguing that the Democrat's presidency has been "marked by outrageous spending and the creation of an entirely new crisis at our Southern Border."
Said Lamborn: "The Democrats are attempting to override the filibuster, stack our Supreme Court, and make Washington D.C. the 51st State. Through all this, Biden has done nothing to stall the radical left's efforts and has governed in a totally hyper-partisan fashion. The only positive thing going on in our Union is that the full effects of Operation Warp Speed and the Trump vaccine are in full swing."
Lamborn added that he believes Biden's infrastructure plan is "full of unrelated liberal priorities" and made a plea to "stop the reckless spending and halt the wave of illegal immigrants at our southern border."
The speech is set to start at 7 p.m. MT. It will be broadcast live on major networks and will stream on the White House's YouTube page.