Why there’s no designated survivor for Biden’s joint address to Congress

The role is usually a designated official kept in a secret locale in case a disaster kills the president and cabinet.

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During President Joe Biden’s first joint address to Congress, there will be no “designated survivor” in place.

The role is typically a designated top official who is secured in a secret location in case there is a disaster that kills the president and cabinet. The real-life role served as the premise for the same-named, short-lived Kiefer Sutherland TV show on ABC and Netflix.

President Joe Biden speaks about updated CDC mask guidance on the north lawn of the White House Tuesday. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

This year’s address will not have a designated survivor because due to coronavirus protocols, attendance at the speech will be limited to only 200 lawmakers, Biden officials and some staff.

“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,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

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Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy and Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be in attendance, as will Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin III.

According to Psaki, Biden will unveil his American Families Plan during the speech.

The plan reportedly is a $1.8 trillion federal investment in child care, education and paid families leave. It would also make community college free, which would affect 5.5 million students.

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“These are generational investments in our future, in the future of our families and the future of our kids,” a senior administration official told CNN. “They pay enormous dividends.”

The proposal will also extend or make permanent several key tax credits that were in the American Rescue Plan the president signed last month.

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The American Families Plan follows the American Jobs Plan, which is a massive infrastructure initiative that would improve the nation’s roads, bridges, broadband, railways and schools.

It would also boost manufacturing and raise wages for workers who care for the elderly and disabled.

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