By Susan Cornwell and James Oliphant, Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With the partial U.S. government shutdown now in its 26th day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday urged President Donald Trump to reschedule his State of the Union address - a move that could deny him the opportunity to use the pageantry of the speech to attack Democrats in their own chamber over the impasse.
With Trump’s address set for Jan. 29, Pelosi wrote him a letter citing security concerns because the Secret Service, which is required to provide security for the address, has not received funding during the dispute.
The standoff was triggered by Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which Democrats oppose.
Presidents traditionally deliver the address, which lays out the administration’s goals for the upcoming year, in the House of Representatives chamber before a joint session of Congress and the majority of the Cabinet.
Democrats took control of the House after last November’s congressional elections. During the shutdown, Trump has routinely blamed them for the stalemate, although he had earlier said he would take responsibility.
Pelosi, speaking to reporters, suggested that if Trump would not agree to reschedule the speech until the government reopens, he could deliver it from the Oval Office instead, a setting that would lack the grandeur of a congressional address.
The White House had no immediate comment on Pelosi’s request, and her letter appeared to have taken aides by surprise. It pointed out that she had invited Trump to make the State of the Union address at the Capitol but said the shutdown complicated the situation.
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