Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will give the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced Tuesday.
“While Washington Democrats fail working Americans, Republican governors are fighting and winning for families. Gov. Kim Reynolds’ brave, bold and successful leadership for Iowans has put her right at the front of that pack,” McConnell said in a statement.
Reynolds “handled COVID by choosing freedom over lockdowns and personal responsibility over mandates – leading to real economic recovery from the pandemic. She kept kids in school and critical race theory out. And she stood tall for election integrity when Speaker Pelosi tried to steal a congressional seat from Iowans,” McCarthy added.
I’m very honored and grateful for this opportunity to speak to the American people! pic.twitter.com/PkawFNYOFK
— Gov. Kim Reynolds (@IAGovernor) February 22, 2022
Biden will deliver the State of the Union on March 1, the latest date ever announced for the constitutionally-mandated speech. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has waffled on COVID-19 capacity restrictions, first telling Republicans she would enforce a one-fourth capacity limit. The House Sergeant-at-Arms later announced that all members of both chambers would be allowed to attend, but that he would enforce a mask mandate and require participants to present a negative COVID-19 test. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans Demand Pelosi Allow All Members Of Congress To Attend Biden’s State Of The Union Address In-Person)
In justifying limits, Pelosi has pointed to the Capitol Physician’s rules for the House of Representatives. Dr. Brian Monahan, an admiral in the U.S Navy, briefly lifted the mask mandate in summer 2021, but brought it back after just under two months. The Senate does not enforce a mask mandate.
The rebuttal speech is frequently given to a politician considered a rising star in the opposing party. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio gave the rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s 2013 State of the Union, and then-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley gave the rebuttal in 2015. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave the rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s 2020 address.