Citing safety concerns, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has suggested that President Donald Trump postpone his State of the Union address to the nation until the partial government shutdown ends.
That’s because the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security have been without funding for almost four weeks.
According to the Associated Press, Pelosi’s letter was made public after having been delivered to the White House.
“On Jan. 3, it was my privilege as Speaker to invite you to deliver the State of the Union address on Jan. 29. The Constitution calls for the President to ‘from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union.'” Pelosi stated in a letter sent to Trump, per CNBC.
Pelosi noted that televised State of the Union addresses before Congress haven’t always been the norm, especially during a government shutdown.
“During the 19th Century and up until the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, these annual state of the union message 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,” she wrote.
In September of 2018, U.S. Secretary Nielsen designated State of the Union addresses as National Special Security Events, meaning they would need “the full resources of the federal government” to make sure the event — and all participants — are secure.
BREAKING: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asks President Trump to reschedule State of the Union address until after the government reopens. https://t.co/TIwjF0o0lE— The Associated Press (@AP) January 16, 2019
“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,” Pelosi wrote. “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.”
Pelosi pointed out that the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security haven’t been funded for 26 days — and have been “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 the government has re-opened,” she wrote.
Pelosi did suggest that the president consider delivering his State of the Union address in writing to Congress on January 29, as presidents of the past used to do.
As of Wednesday morning, the White House has not responded to Pelosi’s letter.
The Associated Press also reported that Congressional members intend to skip the upcoming planned recess if the government shutdown continues. At this point, neither side seems to be interested in backing down.