WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked President Donald Trump on Wednesday to reschedule his annual State of the Union speech before Congress because of partial federal government shutdown, citing security issues.
The top Democrat in the House of Representatives wrote Trump a letter expressing concerns about the nationally televised speech on Jan. 29.
The U.S. Secret Service is the lead agency responsible for coordinating and planning security for the event, she said, but the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security have not been funded for 26 days, 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,” the letter said.
Preparing for the event takes weeks of detailed planning, Pelosi noted.
The federal government has been partially shut since Dec. 22 over Trump’s demand that $5.7 billion for a wall along the Mexican border be included in a government funding bill. Democrats refuse to fund the wall, which Trump promised to build during the 2016 presidential campaign, saying Mexico would foot the bill.
The White House had no immediate comment on Pelosi’s letter.
Reporting by Susan Heavey, Steve Holland, Doina Chiacu; editing by Jonathan Oatis
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