“Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after the government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress,” the Speaker of the house said.
“And 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 speaker wrote.
Pelosi also suggested that the President submit his message in writing, as presidents did in the past.
Read the letter in full here.
Can Pelosi delay Trump’s SOTU address?
Everyone is asking if Speaker Nancy Pelosi can delay Trump’s address. First, we have to educate ourselves on the State of the Union and the U.S. Constitution.
Article II, Section 3 of the constitution, requires the President to periodically “give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”
From Wikipedia: “The Speaker is the political and parliamentary leader of the House of Representatives, and is simultaneously the House’s presiding officer, de facto leader of the body’s majority party, and the institution’s administrative head.”
This is telling us that the Speaker of the House controls the date, time and place when the President can address Congress. Usually, this time is giving on the 3rd week of January.
Congress and the President usually agree on a date when he can address Congress and then an invitation is sent to the White House from the House Speaker.
The Constitution also doesn’t say if the address has to be televised or broadcasted to the public. This is important to remember.
Speaker Pelosi also suggested that Donald Trump deliver the address from the Oval Office.
Trump delivered a prime-time address from the White House last week so this option is possible.
A few quick SOTU facts:
Before 1913, the President submitted a written report to Congress but Woodrow Wilson became the first U.S. President to regularly deliver the address in Congress in person.
Warren Harding speech in 1922 was the first State of the Union address aired on broadcast radio.
Harry S. Truman’s speech in 1947 was the first SOTU address aired on broadcast television.
The Government is now on its 25th day, the longest in history. Donald Trump refuses to sign any bill to open the government without funding for the border wall that he promised Mexico would pay for during the 2016 Presidential campaign and even at times after he became president.
Because of the shutdown, Secret Service officers and many other Government furloughed employees that can secure and protect officials during an event like the State of the Union address are not being paid.
This can be a huge security issue which is why Nancy Pelosi is correct. Some people will think it’s about politics and they would have a point.
But the facts do remain, security concerns can be a problem. If something did happen, Republicans would blame her for it.
Is the State of the Union off?
CNN caught up to Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Steny Hoyer and was asked if the address was off.
“The State of the Union is off,” Hoyer said.
Pelosi also told reporters, “No, no, no” when asked if she was disinviting Donald Trump.
“This is a housekeeping matter in the Congress of the United States so that we can honor the responsibility of the invitation we extended to the president,” Pelosi said.
“He can make it from the Oval Office if he wants.”
We’re still waiting for White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to respond to the Speaker of the House’s letter. It’s also surprising to note that as of writing this article, Donald Trump hasn’t responded on Twitter either.
What do people think?
“It’s hilarious watching Republicans squealing that Speaker Pelosi postponing the State of the Union because of security is pure politics”, Kurt Eichenwald tweeted.
So is it politics? Yes it is. Do Pelosi have a point about security concerns? Yes, she does.
Some people on the left love to watch Speaker Pelosi flex her muscles and that will surely trigger some on the right.