Fences will go back up around the U.S. Capitol in anticipation of the days ahead — the arrival of a U.S. truckers’ convoy in the nation’s capital and Biden’s first State of the Union address.
While all 535 members of the House and Senate are invited this year to attend the speech in person, none will be able to bring guests, and all will be required to wear a “FDA-authorized, KN95 or N95 mask that completely covers the nose and mouth,” according to the House Sergeant-at-Arms. All members attending must also submit to a Covid-19 test on Feb. 28 and provide a negative result by speech day, March 1. Those tests are being given to members at the Capitol Visitor Center.
Meanwhile, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser will allow the indoor mask mandate in Washington, D.C. to expire on Feb. 28. That change will not apply to the Congress, however.
Last year, Biden addressed a joint session of Congress on April 28, but it was not labeled a State of the Union Address.
On Friday, U.S. Capitol Police released a statement about security preparations for the Freedom Convoy:
“Law enforcement agencies across the National Capital Region are aware of plans for a series of truck convoys arriving in Washington, DC around the time of the State of the Union. As with any demonstration, the USCP will facilitate lawful First Amendment activity. The USCP is closely coordinating with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including DC’s Metropolitan Police Department, the United States Park Police, the United States Secret Service and other allied agencies to include the DC National Guard.”
Later in the day, the police updated its advisory to include news about the fence:
“The United States Capitol Police and the United States Secret Service have been closely working together to plan for the upcoming State of the Union. The temporary inner-perimeter fence is part of those ongoing discussions and remains an option, however at this time no decision has been made,” the Capitol Police reported. The fence was also installed around the Capitol in advance of a protest on Sept. 18.
Organizers of the truckers’ protest known as the People’s Convoy are saying the trucks will leave California on Feb. 23, heading east on Interstate 40. It crosses the country as far as Virginia.
“American truckers are launching The People’s Convoy, a peaceful and unified transcontinental movement, on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, from the Adelanto Stadium in Southern California. Starting at 10:00 a.m., hundreds of truckers will hear words of encouragement and blessings from a group of speakers including FLCCC [Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance] President Dr. Pierre Kory and Godspeak Church Pastor Rob McCoy,” according to a press release from the group on Sunday. “The truckers and blue-collar workers of the United States will be joined by freedom-loving supporters from all walks of life – frontline doctors, lawyers, first- responders, former military servicemen and women, students, retirees, mothers, fathers and children – on this peaceful and law-abiding transcontinental journey toward the east coast. The truckers encourage one and all to come out to the stadium in the heart of Adelanto, California to wish them well, see them off and join in the journey.”
The convoy schedule, subject to change, has the convoy arriving on March 5 in the nation’s capital. Other convoys are also being planned, including some that will take a northern route. The American Truckers Freedom Fund is connecting truckers with a convoy in their region.