Will Pope Francis mention abortion? Immigration? Climate change—again? Will members break the rules and try to shake the pontiff’s hand? Will House Speaker John Boehner cry?
Thursday is the day all speculation about Francis’s address to Congress will end. But first, members, staff, and guests actually have to get the House chamber or to a coveted spot on the West Front Lawn. Here’s what Hillites and their guests will have to do on Thursday to make it to the event, according to an internal letter sent to members of Congress from House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving.
How should I get there?
Avoid driving. Bring your ticket—even infants and children need one. Don’t bring prohibited items (like air horns or thermoses or umbrellas).
What will the roads be like?
Starting at midnight Thursday, roads within a three-block radius of the Capitol will be closed to unauthorized cars (see the list here). Irving’s letter strongly recommended attendees find other ways to get to the Hill.
When should I get to the House chamber?
Restricted access begins at 5 a.m. A graph of access points, depending on ticket color, is available here. And attendees can start going into the gallery (via the Cannon and Rayburn tunnels) at 8:30 a.m.