Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi asked President Donald Trump on Wednesday to postpone his State of the Union address as the partial government shutdown that started Dec. 22 continues.
Earlier this month, Pelosi invited Trump to deliver the annual State of the Union address on Jan. 29. However, the California Democrat said Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Secret Service -- the agency tasked with coordinating and implementing security for certain special events, including the State of the Union address -- have not been paid for 26 days.
“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,” Pelosi said.
She noted that State of the Union addresses were routinely brought to Congress in writing up until the presidency of Woodrow Wilson in 1913.
"Since the start of modern budgeting in Fiscal Year 1977, a State of the Union address has never been delivered during a government shutdown," Pelosi said.
In a statement posted Wednesday on Twitter, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the shutdown would not affect security for the address.
“The Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union,” Nielsen said.
Several federal agencies have been closed and thousands of government employees have been compelled to wok without pay since last month, when lawmakers failed to approve of a budget to keep the federal government running.
At issue is funding for a proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that Democrats have opposed. Trump has signaled that he’ll refuse to sign any budget passed by lawmakers that fails to include $5.7 billion to build the wall.