WASHINGTON – Now, another shutdown.
With no end in sight to the partial federal government shutdown, Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked President Donald Trump on Wednesday to delay his Jan. 29 State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress.
Or just send a message to Congress about the state of the nation in writing – as was done up until the Woodrow Wilson presidency, Pelosi said in a letter to the president.
Pelosi cited security concerns in asking for the delay, because the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security – the lead agencies for the event – have no funding with the shutdown on Wednesday hitting the 26th day.
The shutdown is the longest in U.S. history. There is no sign that the stalemate will end soon.
“Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th,” Pelosi said in the letter.
The State of the Union address is delivered in the House chamber.
Below is a text of the letter Pelosi sent to Trump:
• • •
January 16, 2019
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
On January 3rd, it was my privilege as Speaker to invite you to deliver the State of the Union address on January 29. The Constitution calls for the President to “from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union.” During the 19th Century and up until the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, these annual State of the Union messages were delivered to Congress in writing. And since the start of modern budgeting in Fiscal Year 1977, a State of the Union address has never been delivered during a government shutdown.
In September 2018, Secretary Nielsen designated State of the Union Addresses as National Special Security Events (NSSEs), recognizing the need for “the full resources of the Federal Government to be brought to bear” to ensure the security of these events. The extraordinary demands presented by NSSEs require weeks of detailed planning with dozens of agencies working together to prepare for the safety of all participants.
The U.S. Secret Service was designated as the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating, planning, exercising, and implementing security for National Special Security Events by Public Law 106-544, December 19, 2000. However, both the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security have not been funded for 26 days now – with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs.
Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Speaker of the House