If members of Congress want to be there to greet President Obama as he walks down the aisle of the House chamber for his State of the Union address tonight, they're going to have to save their seats now.
There are currently four members holding their aisle seats for the State of the Union address later today, more than nine hours before the speech is scheduled to take place.
Those members (at the moment): Reps. Al Green (D-TX), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), and Barbara Lee (D-CA).
But while Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) said on MSNBC Tuesday that members can just leave items in a chair and claim it later, according to a note sent to members from the speaker's office this morning, if a member wants the seat, they have to stay in it the entire time.
"Members are requested to be on the floor and seated no later than 8:25 p.m.," a note from the speaker's office to members read. "As has been the practice in the past, Members will not be allowed to reserve seats prior to the joint session by placement of placards or personal items. Chamber Security may remove these items from the seats. Members may reserve their seats only by physical presence following the security sweep of the Chamber."
There are a number of seats that currently have bags and coats on them in an effort to save them for the address later. It's unclear if Chamber Security will, in fact, enforce this policy.