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Highlights from Biden's first address to joint session of Congress

President Joe Biden addressed Congress at the Capitol on Wednesday night, saying, "America is on the move again."
Illustration of President Joe BIden, Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the Capitol behind them.
Watch live: Special coverage of Biden's address to CongressChelsea Stahl / NBC News

President Joe Biden delivered his first joint address to Congress on Wednesday, outlining his vision for the country and speaking to what he sees as his administration's initial accomplishments as he approaches 100 days in office.

Biden told Congress that it must that "prove democracy still works" and that it "can deliver for the people," according to excerpts released by the White House before the speech.

The address, which lasted an hour and five minutes, was held in the House chamber and due to security concerns following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and Covid-19 safety measures, only about 200 people were in attendance.

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Photo: A socially distanced standing ovation for the president

President Joe Biden receives a standing ovation from a socially distanced Chamber before his joint address to Congress on Wednesday. Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Biden announced by first Black House sergeant-at-arms

There are a number of historic firsts tonight, including Army Maj. Gen. William Walker's leading President Biden into the House Chamber and announcing his entry. 

He is the first Black House sergeant-at-arms. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi picked Walker, then the head of the Washington, D.C. National Guard, for the post in March, and he was officially sworn in this week. The change of leadership follows the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot, after which the heads of security in both the House and the Senate resigned, along with the chief of the Capitol Police. 

Photo: First lady and second gentleman from the upper level

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff claps as first lady Jill Biden waves before President Joe Biden's joint address to Congress at the Capitol on April 28, 2021.Michael Reynolds / Getty Images

Who Biden gave fist bumps to on his walk through the House chamber

Biden entered the chamber just after 9 p.m. and gave a series of fist and elbow bumps to lawmakers, as well as a half-hug with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

Biden acknowledged a number of mask-clad lawmakers as he walked toward the podium. Recipients of fist bumps or other acknowledgments included Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.; Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; and Chief Justice John Roberts.

Harris as she made her way through Rotunda

Biden arrives at the Capitol

The presidential motorcade departed from the South Lawn driveway at 8:30 p.m. and took a short trip up to the Capitol complex as Biden, approaching his 100th day in office, prepares to address the nation. 

This is the president's first trip to the Capitol since his inauguration and his first major address to the nation following the deadly Jan. 6 attack. He will preside over a historic moment with the first female vice president and the first female House Speaker. 

An elbow bump greeting as Harris takes her place next to Pelosi

Vice President Harris took her place next to House Speaker Pelosi in a historic moment before Biden arrives at the Capitol — and the pair greeted each other with an elbow bump

Harris led a group of Democratic lawmakers in the House, masked and wearing a pale yellow pantsuit.

Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bump elbows before President Joe Biden's joint address to Congress at the Capitol.Jim Watson / Getty Images

Photos: Social distancing limits crowd in House chamber

Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., waits in her seat for President Joe Biden's joint address to Congress to begin at the Capitol on Wednesday.Jim Watson / Pool via Getty Images


Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., gestures to Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., as they arrive for President Joe Biden's joint address to Congress at the Capitol.Andrew Harnik / AP

Cheney, McCarthy to sit near each other as the GOP leaders take different paths post-Jan. 6

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., will be separated by seven seats from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tonight. It will be interesting to see how the two top Republicans — Cheney is the No. 3 in the conference — react to Biden's address.

McCarthy and Cheney have taken opposite paths in laying out the future of the GOP after the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol. Cheney has wanted the party to put former President Donald Trump in the rearview mirror, while McCarthy has sought to remain close with him. 

When they are seated near each other, it will be easy to see whether they have any varying reactions to Biden's address — particularly if and when the president addresses the Capitol riot.

With the room much less filled than for a typical address, any individual reactions will be amplified.

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