This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 8 °C Sunday 8 December, 2019
Advertisement

Donald Trump delays State of the Union speech until government shutdown is over

Top Democrat Nancy Pelosi has effectively blocked Trump from giving his State of the Union address.

President Donald Trump meets with conservative leaders on his immigration proposal Source: DPA/PA Images

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump backed down last night in a spat with Democrats over his State of the Union address, agreeing to delay it until a government shutdown ends.

The US Senate meanwhile will prepare today to hold two showdown votes on measures to reopen the shuttered federal agencies, but Trump’s toxic sparring with House speaker Nancy Pelosi essentially assured no solution was at hand.

The top Democrat has effectively blocked Trump from delivering his annual address in Congress until the partial government shutdown, now in its 34th day, is brought to an end.

But in a tweet sent after 11:00 pm, Trump wrote, “As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. I agreed.”

“She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative – I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over.”

As acrimony in Washington grew, lawmakers across the political spectrum were left searching in vain for an exit strategy for the longest-ever halt to federal operations, as furloughed government employees and contractors vented their fury on Capitol Hill.

The prospects for Trump getting to deliver his national address in Congress next Tuesday as planned were dim, with the Senate votes – one on Trump’s proposal that includes money for his border wall with Mexico and changes to immigration policy, the other by Democrats seeking to reopen government before negotiating border security – bound to fail.

Traditionally the president’s annual speech is delivered before a joint session of Congress in the ornate chamber of the House of Representatives.

In an effort to force Pelosi’s hand, the president wrote to her saying it would be “so very sad for our Country” if his speech could not be delivered on time and in the chamber.

Pelosi, who has become the face of Democratic opposition to Trump in Congress, pushed back, informing the president that the House would only agree to host him for his speech “when government has been opened.”

Trump now appears to have capitulated.

After his tweet late last night agreeing to delay his speech, Pelosi tweeted back saying she hopes he agrees to a deal that opens the government.

The shutdown, which has seen some 800,000 federal employees left without pay for a month, was triggered by Trump’s refusal to sign funding bills in December, in retaliation for Democratic opposition to funds for extending walls along the US-Mexico border.

With the closure of about one quarter of federal agencies affecting millions of Americans, hundreds of unpaid government workers used the power of protest to publicise their plight, holding a sit-in for hours at a congressional office building.

Some held up paper plates with messages including “Will work for pay.”

With no solution in sight, many were bracing for Friday, when they expect to miss their second paycheck in a row.

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

AFP

Read next:

COMMENTS (37)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel