The Safety Measure That Will Be Missing During Joe Biden's First Speech To Congress

President Joe Biden will reach his first milepost on April 30, which marks his first 100 days in office. But just because Biden this phase has been met with moderately favorable feedback doesn't mean there aren't other markers in addition. For many Americans, one of those will be his first address to Congress, which is scheduled to take on April 28. 

While this address — which is meant to be both a recap on what Biden's administration has done so far, as well as what they are planning to do in the future, according to PBS — has been the tradition of many presidents before him, the current ongoing coronavirus pandemic means that the overall format will be slightly altered. As the Washington Post summarized, Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be required to wear masks while onstage with Biden, and only 200 people will be allowed in the chamber to hear his speech in person, instead of the 1600 that have been allowed for past addresses.

But even though Biden might be gearing up for this first-ever Congressional joint address, there will be one major thing missing during the event — and the absence of that particular safety guard will be bucking decades of tradition when it comes to the office of the presidency.

President Joe Biden will not have a designated survivor for his address to Congress

As Yahoo! News noted, President Joe Biden's first joint address to Congress on April 28 will have one key figure missing: a "designated survivor," or, in layman's terms, an official who is appointed to immediately take over the role as commander-in-chief if anything should strike the president — or other successive officials — during an event like the upcoming address. 

The reasoning behind deciding not to deputize is deeply tied to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "There does not need to be a designated survivor because the Cabinet will be watching from their offices or home, but they will not be joining him for the speech," according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Even though there isn't technically a designated survivor for Biden's first address, however, doesn't mean there isn't a line of succession. According to Yahoo! News, if anything were to happen to the first four in this successive line — in order, Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Patrick Leahy, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken — then the presidential duties would transfer to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.