Leaders of Congress to go to Mass with Joe Biden in show of unity

Leaders of Congress will attend Mass with Joe Biden before his inauguration in show of bipartisan unity to be held just after Donald Trump quits the White House and snubs his successor by refusing to meet

  • Congressional leaders from both parties will join Joe Biden for mass on Wednesday before he takes the oath of office 
  • Republicans Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy and Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer will be at service at St. Matthew’s church
  • Biden is starting his presidency with bipartisan display of unity
  • That is in contrast to Trump, who will leave town early on inauguration day
  • Trump has not contacted Biden, in a break of tradition of change in power
  • Biden needs Congress to pass his ambitious legislative agenda 

Congressional leaders from both parties will join Joe Biden for mass on Wednesday morning in a show of bipartisan unity before he takes the oath of office.

Republicans Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, along with Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, will attend the Catholic service with Biden at St. Matthew’s church in downtown Washington D.C., about 10 blocks from the White House, Punchbowl News reported.

It’s part of Biden’s plan to demonstrate his contrast to outgoing President Donald Trump from the start of his presidency. The mass will come shortly after Trump departs the White House for the last time.

The outgoing president has eschewed the traditional trappings that come with a peaceful transfer of power. He did not host Biden at the White House for coffee after the election and will not greet him at front door ahead of the inauguration ceremony. Instead Trump will be at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida when Biden becomes the 46th president.

Joe Biden will attend Catholic church with Congressional leaders from both parties on the morning of his inauguration in a show of bipartisan unity

Republicans Mitch McConnell (top left) and Kevin McCarthy (top right), along with Democrats Nancy Pelosi (bottom left) and Chuck Schumer (bottom right), will attend Catholic mass with Joe Biden at St. Matthew’s church on Wednesday morning

Trump also announced he would not attend his successor’s swearing-in. The last president not to do so was President Andrew Johnson in 1869 – who had also been impeached. 

Shortly after Trump announced he wouldn’t be there, Barack and Michelle Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton announced they would attend. George W. Bush and wife Laura had already confirmed they would be there. Jimmy Carter, 96, and wife Roslynn, 93, will not attend, the first inaugural they have missed since 1977, while they attempt to keep safe from COVID. 

The presidential couples will join Biden after he takes the oath of office, when he and Jill Biden lay a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery in another show of bipartisan unity that is part of Biden’s inauguration theme of ‘America United.’ 

Biden is also wooing congressional leaders at a time he’ll need bipartisan support to pass his legislative priorities, which includes a $1.9 trillion plan to combat the coronavirus and immigration reform. 

Democrats hold a slim three seat majority in the House and the Senate will be a 50-50 tie when Biden enters the Oval Office. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be the tie breaking vote in the upper chamber.

Biden already has laid out an ambitious legislative agenda. His immigration plan would provide an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal status in a massive reversal of Trump administration policies.

His COVID relief plan includes $1,400 stimulus checks and a $400-a-week federal unemployment insurance program. He is also asking for billions of dollars for federal nutrition programs and child care providers and an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour. In addition, he is asking for $350 billion for states and $35 billion more for small-businesses financing programs.

Congress must pass his wish-list. Additionally, the Senate had to confirm all of Biden’s Cabinet nominees.  

President Donald Trump has had a strained relationship with Congressional leadership

Joe Biden is the second Catholic president in U.S. history after John F. Kennedy and a regular church goer

The Wednesday morning mass will be one of the few times for Biden to connect with Congressional leadership on a busy day. The traditional luncheon held by lawmakers in the Capitol for the new president was cancelled because of concerns about the coronavirus.  

Trump, in contrast, had strained relations with Capitol Hill. McConnell was refusing to speak to him by the end of presidency and Pelosi famously ripped up the text of his last State of the Union address.

Additionally, Trump was reported to be so angry at McCarty over his blaming Trump for inciting the January 6 MAGA riot, he called him a p****. The two men previously had a strong relationship. 

Biden is also only the second Catholic president in U.S. history after John F. Kennedy, who also worshiped at St. Matthew’s. 

He attends church regularly. On Thursday, his first full day as president, Biden will join a Virtual Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service held at Washington National Cathedral, an interfaith service which dates back to the first inauguration of President George Washington. It will be entirely virtual this year to engage Americans safely

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