With a partial government shutdown showing no signs of being resolved, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday basically ‘disinvited’ President Donald Trump from a scheduled January 29 State of the Union Address, saying that the Secret Service and Homeland Security Department should not be tasked with such a major event while they are in a shutdown status.
“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,” Pelosi wrote in a letter sent to the President on Wednesday morning.
There was no immediate reaction from the White House or the President.
The President gives the State of the Union at the invitation of the Congress, as the House and Senate must agree to use the House chamber for such an event.
The reaction in Congress split down party lines.
“It is very ironic that Democrats reference security concerns in their latest grandstanding tactic, delaying the State of the Union, but will not address the security concerns that are creating a humanitarian crisis at the border,” said Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN).
“We know the state of our union,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), as Democrats said there should be no speech from the President while the partial shutdown continues.
In an interview with NBC News, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the President had been “disinvited” by Pelosi.
“He can make it from the Oval Office,” the Speaker told reporters.
“This is the shutdown that one man – President Donald Trump – gave us,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD).
Even among Republicans there was some public grumbling about the standoff.
“I know for sure right now, we’re going nowhere,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who for a second day went to the Senate floor to chide all sides, all but pleading with his colleagues to step forward with ideas to end the shutdown.
“Shutting down is a losing proposition all the way around,” said Isakson, who has joined with a handful of other GOP Senators in arguing against shutdowns, no matter the issue.
Meanwhile, House Democrats were pushing on Wednesday afternoon toward yet another vote on a measure to fund the agencies and departments of the federal government which have been denied funding since before Christmas.
This time, the funding – which would extend through February 8 – was to be tucked into a broader disaster relief bill, to funnel aid to victims of Hurricane Michael, as well as wildfires in California.