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Pelosi tells Trump that his State of the Union should be postponed for safety reasons

Pelosi says that the shutdown has meant that the Secret Service cannot plan properly.

US President Donald J. Trump meets with US House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi and US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Pelosi speaks during a meeting with Trump in the Oval office. Source: Pool/ABACA

US SPEAKER OF the House Nancy Pelosi has written to President Donald Trump suggesting that this year’s State of the Union address be postponed in light of the ongoing US government shutdown. 

The State of the Union address is an annual speech made by the US president to congress in which the president speaks about the nation and their leadership of it. 

Aside from a president’s inauguration speech, they are the highest profile scheduled addresses made by a president during their term and are often seen as an opportunity to promote bipartisan unity. 

In the letter released by her office today, Pelosi said that the ongoing government shutdown makes preparations for the address difficult. 

Pelosi tells Trump that the address is designated as a National Special Security Event (NSSE), requiring a particular type of preparation involving the Secret Service, and that this is not possible because of the shutdown. 

“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 said 

“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.

A furlough is a temporary leave of absence from work and in the case of the shutdown is cause by a lack of funding.

Pelosi continues: 

Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government reopens 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 29 January.

Pelosi notes in her letter that the president is constitutionally obliged to deliver a State of the Union but that these were delivered in writing up until the presidency of Woodrow Wilson.

As yet there has been no response from Trump or the White House to Pelosi’s request.

A shutdown occurs when congress is unable to pass bills funding different branches of government and are usually caused by political disagreements. 

This current impasse has gone on for 26 days, the longest ever, and is centred on Trump’s desire to build a border wall on the border with Mexico.

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Rónán Duffy

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