WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s speech to Congress broke a historic glass ceiling on Wednesday, when two women, Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, sat behind the president for the first time. in American history. The seating arrangements have symbolic significance for the advancement of American women in recent decades as Harris and Pelosi rank first and second in the presidential line of succession, respectively. Harris, the first woman and the first black and Asian person to serve as vice president, sat to the right of Biden. Pelosi, who became the first female speaker of the House of Representatives in 2007, sat to his left. The two women are playing a vital role in the early days of Biden’s presidency, with Harris serving as a close adviser and runner-up in an evenly divided Senate and Pelosi helping organize the president’s legislative agenda in Congress. Biden spoke at a joint House and Senate session with restricted attendance to enforce social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Harris arrived before Biden and Pelosi lovingly took the vice president’s hand when she took the stand before quickly shifting to a pandemic-appropriate elbow strike. “Madam President, Madam Vice President,” Biden said as he addressed the crowd. “No president has ever said those words from this podium, no president has ever said those words. And it was about time!”
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