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Pelosi: House Will Not Authorize SOTU until Government Reopens

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speak to the news media in Washington, D.C., January 9, 2019. (Carlos Barria/REUTERS)

Updated 4:20pm:

House speaker Nancy Pelosi Wednesday formally notified President Trump that the House will not authorize him to deliver his State of the Union address before Congress until the government reopens.

“I am writing to inform you that the House of Representatives will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing the President’s State of the Union address in the House Chamber until the government has opened,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to the president.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump said in a letter to Pelosi that he would be accepting the speaker’s original invitation to give the address in the House. Pelosi rescinded her invitation after the partial government shutdown began, citing security concerns she said were created by the furloughing of personnel.

“I will be honoring your invitation, and fulfilling my constitutional duty, to deliver important information to the people and Congress of the United States of America regarding the State of our Union,” Trump wrote.

The president said Secret Service and Homeland Security officials had informed him there was “absolutely no problem regarding security with respect to the event.”

“It would be so very sad for our country, if the State of the Union were not delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!” Trump wrote.

“I’m not surprised,” Trump said at the White House after Pelosi’s letter was released. “It’s really a shame what’s happening with the Democrats. They’ve become radicalized. They don’t want to see crime stopped.”

The president said he will now hold an “alternative” event instead of giving the address in the House since Pelosi is blocking him from doing so.

Pelosi’s decision is a “great blotch on the country that we all love,” Trump said.

The shutdown, which broke the record for the longest in U.S. history, entered its 33rd day on Wednesday, as 800,000 federal workers remained without their paychecks. The Senate has scheduled votes for Thursday on two bills designed to end the shutdown. One is backed by Republicans and the president and includes more protections for young immigrants as well as Trump’s request for $5.7 billion to fund construction of a border wall. The other, backed by Democrats, funds the affected government agencies without including border-wall funding.

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