President Joe Biden’s address to Congress during the State of the Union on Tuesday broke a major glass ceiling as it marked the first time two women were sitting behind the United States President during the address.

Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cheered on Joe Biden as he announced measures against Russia, including banning American airspace for Russian aircraft, as well as plans to boost a fraught economy and tackle the COVID-19. 

Biden’s first address to Congress last year marked the first time two women were sitting behind the President at the dias of the House Chamber, but today marks the first time Pelosi and Harris are flanking Biden during the official SOTU address. 

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During his address last year, Biden underscored the advancement of American women in recent years. “Madam Speaker, Madam Vice President,” Biden said, adding, “No President has ever said those words from this podium, no president has ever said those words. And its about time!”

Harris – who is the first-ever woman, Black and person of Asian hertiage to serve as VP – was on Biden’s right, while Pelosi – the first woman speaker of the House – sat to his left. 

Meanwhile, in his 62-minute speech, Biden played a balancing act between addressing issues both foreign and domestic – just like he has to do in his presidency heading into the midterm elections. 

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Biden said Russian president Vladimir Putin is “now isolated from the world more than he has ever been” and that he “badly miscalculated” in his attempt to bend the foundations of the free world “to his own menacing ways”. 

In line with similar measures taken by Canada and the European Union, Biden banned US airspace for Russian aircraft while. The president also said the Justice Department was launching a task force to go after crimes of Russian oligarchs, whom he called “corrupt leaders who have bilked billions of dollars off this violent regime.”