As we approach the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, the U.S. government remains closed for business.
So far, more than 800,000 federal workers have missed a paycheck, and residents who rely on government services, like public housing, social security, or air travel have all been slammed by the shutdown. With this in mind and no deal in sight to put an end to the longest government closure in history, Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi has asked Donald Trump to postpone his upcoming State of the Union Address or deliver a written version.
“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,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to Trump. “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.”
Today, I wrote to @realDonaldTrump recommending that we delay the State of the Union until after government re-opens, as the @SecretService, the lead federal agency for #SOTU security, faces its 26th day without funding. https://t.co/K2oL8WGvqo pic.twitter.com/g3fIlxDbbK
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 16, 2019
One reason Pelosi is calling on Trump to delay the address is because of security concerns.
“The U.S. Secret Service was designated as the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating, planning, exercising, and implementing security for National Special Security Event,” Pelosi argued. “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”
She added: “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 for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th.”
The White House has yet to respond to Pelosi’s request.