After sending out the official invitation for President Trump to give his annual ‘State of the Union’ address for January 29th, Speaker Pelosi has attempted to recede the invitation and cancel the event over the government shutdown and border wall fight. The short letter below is what she sent the President earlier today:
Dear Mr. President:
On January 3rd, it was my privilege as Speaker to invite you to deliver the State of the Union address on January 29th. The Constitution calls for the President to “from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union.” 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. 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.
In September 2018, Secretary Nielsen designated State of the Union Addresses as National Special Security Events (NSSEs), recognizing the need for “the full resources of the Federal Government to be brought to bear” to ensure the security of these events. 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.
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 by Public Law 106-544, December 19, 2000. 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.
Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens 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 January 29th.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Speaker of the House
While the Constitution calls for the ‘occasional’ SOTU address to Congress, there is no mandate for a yearly in-person, hour long speech. She is correct in stating it has only been recently that the address has taken place in person, as it used to be the norm for presidents to send a simple letter.
However, we are in the middle of the longest shutdown in U.S. history, and her security concerns are legitimate. Without funding, it may be more difficult for the Secret Service to adequately protect the President, his cabinet, and the 538 members of Congress. Everybody who’s anybody in D.C. will be in attendance.
Something tells me the security problem is not the Speakers main concern. Without a doubt she is more worried about what he may say rather than him saying it while well guarded. The government is shutdown because Minority Leader Schumer refused to pass a spending bill which included $5.7 billion for a wall, less than 0.1% of the multi-trillion dollar budget. After the old Congress lapsed, Pelosi, now the House Speaker, also is refusing to entertain any money for the border wall.
More recently, Democrats declined a bipartisan lunch at the White House to discuss a border funding compromise.
Seeing as both Trump SOTU Addresses reached over 45 million viewers, Trump would have over an hour of a national captive audience to explain to the American people that the government remains shutdown because democrats prioritize illegal aliens over the American people. Pelosi fears the president’s appeal to the people, and the negative press that will follow the democrats after he continues to make his case for a small allocation to keep the country safe. She knows she has a losing case when the information is presented well.