WASHINGTON – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has fired a letter back to President Trump informing him “the House of Representatives will not vote on a resolution authorizing the President’s State of the Union address in the House Chamber until the government has opened.”
Speaking at the White House, President Trump told reporters, “I’m not surprised. It’s really a shame what’s happening with the Democrats.
Both chambers of Congress must approve resolutions for the State of the Union to take place. Today is the 33rd day of the shutdown impacting 800,000 federal employees and contractors.
President Trump said earlier today he would deliver the annual address before a joint session of Congress on January 29th. White House staff are reportedly trying to find alternate locations for the address, but don’t want it to become a political rally.
Pelosi laid down the gauntlet weeks ago in this fight over funding for the border wall when she first told the President the address would not take place amid the shutdown. She cited security concerns due to impacts upon the U.S. Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security when suggesting he deliver the address in writing or postpone the date.
“I’m not surprised. It’s really a shame what’s happening with the Democrats,” President Trump says in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying there will be no State of the Union until the government reopens https://t.co/xgPMd0GG0q pic.twitter.com/IXTA6CoWVz
— CNN (@CNN) January 23, 2019
A few days later, a military flight scheduled to take Rep. Pelosi and a delegation to Afghanistan for a troop visit was cancelled by the President. The reason cited was funding concerns.
Then over the weekend the President extended an offer over the weekend to reach a deal to extend temporary protections for ‘Dreamers’, people brought into the U.S. illegally when they were children. Democrats quickly rejected the offer.
Trump is asking for $5.7 billion in funding for border security to build a border wall along the border with Mexico. House Speaker Pelosi (D-California) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) have both publicly stated they will approve no funding for the project, but would support other efforts to assist in controlling illegal immigration.
The House of Representatives did pass a short-term spending bill to fund the government until Feb. 28th, but the measure is not expected to make it through the Senate. Democrats are working to put pressure on the Republican-controlled Senate to end the shutdown.
The Senate is expected to vote Thursday night on a bill which follows the lines of the President’s offer to extend protections for ‘Dreamers’ in exchange for the wall funding. It is not expected to pass in the House.
A decision to not call for a vote in the House is a stronger measure than going forward with the event, then having Democrats walk out in protest.
If a deal is not reached by Friday, federal workers will miss out on another paycheck. The Coast Guard is just one group still on duty without being paid. They will be reimbursed after the shutdown ends, yet the financial impact on families is a strong burden to bear amid this fight.
Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) announced today he plans to introduce legislation calling for immediate payments to federal workers impacted by the shutdown.