House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters from NBC News Wednesday that with Homeland Security and the Secret Service impacted by the partial government shutdown, it is not safe for the House to host the president for his annual State of the Union address on January 29.
SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: It’s an event of special security. And so these people are not working. And we’ve never really had a state of the union when the government has been in shutdown since the Budget Act in the 70s. So this is — this is respectfully and sadly, proudly I invited to come, privileged to invite him to come. But the government is shut down. The people who are — we would have the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, the entire Congress of the United States, House and Senate, the Supreme Court, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the cabinet of the United States. Did I say that? And the diplomatic corp, all in the same room.
This requires hundreds of people working on the logistics and security of it. Most of those people are either furloughed or victims of the shutdown. The president’s shutdown. But that isn’t the point. The point is security.
And I — I have been in leadership in a long time. Maybe before you were all here, where they have — we have so prepared in advance for something happening in that chamber, actually, this room, HR 5. You look back at the history of it rather than my giving it to you was turned into sort of a safe haven where they bring us down here if something happened in the chamber. This is a very big deal. It is a special security event.
REPORTER: Would you host him?
PEOSLI: That would be a security matter. Either the secretary was exaggerating the importance of the preparation required or not. And that’s a security decision which is completely out of my hands.
REPORTER: Do you hope he sees this as a consequence of the government shutdown?
PELOSI: No. I just — this is a housekeeping matter in the Congress of the United States so we can honor the responsibility of the invitation we extended. He can make it from the Oval Office.
Speaker Pelosi asks President Trump to reschedule the State of the Union or give it in writing saying “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.” pic.twitter.com/Ko0r4pJawW
— Jason Donner (@jason_donner) January 16, 2019