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Pelosi asks Trump to delay State of the Union until government reopens

A portion of a letter sent to President Donald Trump from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019 in Washington. Pelosi has asked President Trump to postpone his State of the Union address to the nation, set for Jan. 29, until the government
AP Photo/Wayne Partlow
About 25% of the federal government has been shutdown since December 22, making this the longest shutdown

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Wednesday requesting his State of the Union address be moved to a different date, citing security concerns amid the ongoing government shutdown.

"Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest 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 29," Pelosi wrote in the letter dated Wednesday.

About 25% of the federal government has been shutdown since December 22, making this the longest shutdown in American history.

Trump is scheduled to deliver the annual State of the Union address, during which the president lays out his legislative agenda and provides an economic status report, on January 29.

The US Secret Service, which is charged with the protection of the president, provides security for what are known as national special security events, including the State of the Union.

"However, both the US Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security have not been funded for 26 days now -- with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs," Pelosi noted in her letter.

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

She also said that "since the start of modern budgeting in Fiscal Year 1977, a State of the Union address has never been delivered during a government shutdown."

The notion that Trump, a billionaire businessman who dramatically boosted his national prominence through his reality television show "The Apprentice," would send in a written version of his address seems quaint in today's screen-dominated digital era.

But Pelosi pointed out that up until Woodrow Wilson's presidency in the early 20th century, "these annual State of the Union messages were delivered to Congress in writing."

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