Following communications between the US House speaker Nancy Pelosi and US President Donald Trump, the President will not be giving his planned state of the union address on January 29 due to the ongoing government shutdown.
The disagreement between the two began because of a letter Pelosi sent to Trump on January 16 where she cited security concerns and the ongoing government shutdown as reasons for her postponing Trump’s state of the union address. Trump responded to Pelosi’s letter with a letter of his own on January 23, saying that security is not an issue and “It would be so very sad for our Country if the State of the Union were not delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!”
In response to Trump’s letter, Pelosi stated that Trump would not be allowed to deliver the state of the union address in the House of Representatives. In order for a president to deliver a state of the union address, a concurrent resolution must be passed by both the House and Senate, and because the Democrats are in control of the House, they can choose not to pass the resolution.
The president, in turn, decided to agree with Pelosi and stated he will not be giving the state of the union address until the shutdown is over, saying in two tweets “I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over. I am not looking for an alternative venue for the SOTU Address because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber. I look forward to giving a “great” State of the Union Address in the near future!”
The State of the Union address is when the President speaks in the House of Representatives to explain how the country is going, what problems still exist, and what the government has been able to accomplish. It is televised for the whole country, with all members of the House, Senate and Supreme Court in attendance. This is the first time in history that a president’s invitation to deliver the state of the Union has been rescinded in this way.
The shutdown that caused the hullabaloo surrounding the state of the union address has been going on for 33 days and counting, with no end in site as the Senate continues to not sign any of the 11 bills sent to them by the House to reopen the government. The Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has stated that the Senate will not approve any bill sent to them by the House that will not be signed by the president. Trump has asked for $5.7 billion in funding to build a wall on the southern border and refuses to sign any bill to reopen the government that does not include that money.
Recently, Trump attempted to compromise with Democrats by saying he would support a bill that provides temporary protections for 700,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and 300,000 immigrants who fall under temporary protected status. In September of 2017, Trump ended the legal protections granted to DACA recipients, hoping it would lead to Congress to pass legislation addressing the issue. The compromise proposed by Trump would also have to include the $5.7 billion he wants to build parts of a border wall, in addition to providing money for humanitarian aid more border agents and immigration judges. Pelosi has rejected Trump’s compromise and would prefer the government be reopened before any deal surrounding funding for a border wall is put forth.