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Nancy Pelosi faces headache over deciding who gets one of 200 tickets to Biden's speech to Congress

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing a problem familiar to hostesses everywhere - who to invite and who to leave off the guest list.

Only her invite list is to President Joe Biden's first address to a joint session of Congress and there are hundreds of people who want one of the 200 tickets available to the April 28 speech.

Democrats are already jockeying for one of limited spots allocated for lawmakers, administration officials and guests. 

And the situation is getting contentious, Politico's Playbook notes, with one source saying some Democratic leaders didn't want to host the address because of all the hurt feelings it will involved. 

But Biden wanted to make the speech. The address was timed to the end of his first 100 days in office. 

Unlike previous presidential addresses to Congress - such as President Donald Trump in February 2020 - President Biden's speech on April 28 will be limited to 200 tickets with lawmakers spread out on the House floor and the guest balconies above

Speaker Nancy Pelosi decides who gets one of 200 tickets to President Biden's speech to a Joint Session of Congress on April 28

The coronavirus pandemic has limited the seating at a time Democrats are eager to cheer on a commander-in-chief of their own after four years of Donald Trump's presidency.

Party leadership is tasked with doling out the invites - with the White House surely being consulted - but, no matter who gets a ticket, Pelosi is bound to face a lot of disappointed Democrats at a time she needs every one of their votes thanks to her scant two seat majority in the House. 

What remains unclear is who will get the golden ticket and how the invites will be determined. 

Leaders of both parties are likely to score invites. Some are predicting that committee chairmen and the ranking member (the top Democrat and top Republican on each panel) will get invited.

One lawmaker joked to Politico that perhaps names should be pulled out of a hat. 

But the visual for the end of April address will be a far cry from a typical presidential address to a Joint Session of Congress when the chamber is packed to the gills: 100 senators, 435 House members, Supreme Court justices, the diplomatic corps, members of the Cabinet and each lawmaker gets to invite one guest for one of the balcony seats above. And staff crowd in the back, standing along the walls. 

This year, no lawmaker will be allowed to bring a guest. 

And it's unclear if the traditional pomp and circumstance will be followed: the sergeant at arms announcing 'Madame Speaker, the president of the United States,'  followed by Biden walking into the chamber to great applause and lawmakers lining the aisle to shake his hand. 

Typically during a presidential address - such as Trump's in 2020 - the House chamber is packed with 100 senators, 435 House members, Supreme Court justices and members of the Cabinet

It's also unclear what pomp and circumstance will take place around the speech - above President Barack Obama addresses Congress in January 2010

Some lawmakers make a big production out presidential addresses, getting to the House chamber early to save a seat on the aisle so they can shake hands with the president as he makes his way to the podium. 

One of those is Texas Democrat Shelia Jackson-Lee, who told Politico that 'all of us have expressed our interest' about attending the speech.

'We'll be adhering to whatever the instructions are,' she said. 'It will be musical chairs.'

Making things easier is that many House Republicans simply plan not to show up. The speech comes at the end of a party retreat in Florida so that will likely give many a reason not to attend.

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Thursday he plans to go and other members of the leadership are likely to join him.  

But rank-and-file Republicans are likely not to attend.

Due to the pandemic, lawmakers will be spaced out during Biden's remarks - some will be on the House floor and some will be seated in the galleries above. 

Face masks will be required.  

The joint session also will be designated a National Special Security Event with tight security procedures in place. 

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