History is made with Harris, Pelosi atop the House dais

A look back at the scene of previous presidential addresses

Posted April 28, 2021 at 10:46pm
Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., clap as President Joe Biden delivers his address to the joint session of Congress on April 28, 2021. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

A lot of things in the House chamber look different in 2021. During President Joe Biden's first address to a joint session of Congress, attendees sat masked and socially distanced. The crowd was smaller and the guests were virtual.

But perhaps the most striking change was the image of two women in the chairs behind the president. Filled over the decades by the vice president and speaker, it’s the first time both roles are held by women — Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi.

CQ Roll Call dug through its archives of the last three decades to mark the history made Wednesday:

President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in the House chamber on Feb. 4, 2020. (REUTERS/Leah Millis/POOL)
President Barack Obama speaks during his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in the House chamber on Capitol Hill on Jan. 12, 2016. Behind him, Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan listen. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech to a joint session of Congress on Jan. 27, 2010 in Washington. (AFP Photo /Tim Sloan/POOL)
President George W. Bush delivers his final State of the Union address in Washington on Jan. 28, 2008, as Vice President Dick Cheney and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi look on. (AFP PHOTO/Tim SLOAN/Pool)
President Bill Clinton delivers the State of the Union address with Vice President Al Gore and House Speaker Newt Gingrich sitting behind him on Jan. 24, 1995. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)