Harris and Pelosi make history at Biden's joint address to Congress

Women Make History As Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris Flank Biden For Speech

Women Make History As Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris Flank Biden For Speech

Harris made history last November when she became the first woman, first Black person, first Indian American and first Asian American to be elected vice president.

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 as Americans tuned in on their TV screens for the primetime address were women.

When a president addresses Congress flanked by the vice president and speaker of the House, it's tradition. No president has ever said those words from this podium, and it's about time'.

"Cheers to VP Kamala Harris & Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, for blazing a trail 245 years in the making", wrote tennis legend Billie Jean King.

Later in his address, Biden announced another in a series of domestic policy assignments for Harris: overseeing the expansion of broadband internet access.

Biden set out to assemble the most diverse Cabinet in recent history, and has since offered a list that's 55 percent nonwhite and 45 percent female, according to NPR.

Such was the case on Wednesday night, when President Biden delivered his first joint address to a scaled-back crowd of mask-wearing lawmakers. "Fourteen years later, for the first time, there'll be two women behind the President".

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Harris down played the historic occasion.

Biden recognized the historic moment at the start of his remarks, addressing "Madam Speaker, Madam Vice President", as the roughly 200-person chamber burst into applause.

That changed for the first time in 2007, after the 2006 midterm elections swept the Democrats into the House majority - and Pelosi to the speaker's chair. She has sat there for several addresses by Presidents George W Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, said Wednesday night will show men, women, boys and girls that women can attain and hold high-level positions and that they are as entitled to them as men are. "It's about time", Pelosi said hours before the speech. "But for now this is a particularly gratifying moment".

Apart from the speech Wednesday, Harris and Pelosi have notched another first in US and women's history.

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

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