As previously mentioned, we've received some comments from Nancy Pelosi's office in reply to our initial editorial and subsequent follow-up calling on Congressional Democrats to assert the branch's co-equal powers by allowing Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) to give his State of the Union Response Address to the full joint session of Congress. That, instead of relegating the response to the usual, audience-free, less-than-impressive, impossible-to-compete, unlevel playing field of a makeshift TV studio somewhere.
In a conversation yesterday with the office, I was told there were no "Constitutional issues" to keep Webb from addressing the full joint session as some callers to Pelosi's office, encouraging her to allow it, may have been told. And, in fact, the aide I spoke to, speaking on background, felt the idea was "brilliant" and it might be something to consider for next year. This year, however, the logistics would make it impossible at this late date.
I'd admit to still being somewhat unclear on exactly what the logistical problems would be. It seems that it would simply be a matter of keeping the joint session open after Bush is finished and giving the podium to Webb and allowing him to give his address to the assembled members and officials. Logistical issues concerning Secret Service sweeps and such surrounding a POTUS visit being an issue handled separately.
However, I'm told there is some form of joint resolution that is passed by both chambers each year to allow for the President's address to Congress and perhaps it is that resolution which would need to be amended to allow the floor to stay open after the intial SOTU speech has concluded.
In any case, here is the official statement as emailed from Pelosi's communication director, Brendan Daly, which seems to close the door on the matter for this year. Unfortunately...
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