NEW YORK, Jan 24 (APP):The US House of Representatives Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has said she will block President Donald Trump
from delivering the annual State of the Union address in the House chamber until the government reopens, rejecting the president’s demand to deliver the speech on Jan. 29.
In a further escalation of the feud between the two leaders, Pelosi said in a letter to Trump that said she would not move forward with the legislative steps needed for the address to take place.“The House of Representatives will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing the president’s State of the Union address in the House chamber until government has opened,” she wrote. The president last week denied Pelosi a military plane for an unannounced trip to visit US troops in Afghanistan a day after she suggested a delay in the speech.
The running dispute has added to the difficulty of finding a resolution to the partial government shutdown that began on Dec. 22. By refusing to schedule a vote on the resolution, Pelosi is preventing Congress from meeting in a joint session for the purpose of hearing Trump’s address.
The Speaker said she would invite the president to deliver his speech “on a mutually agreeable date” but only “when government has been opened. Pelosi’s move raises the stakes in her battle of wills with Trump over the annual address and the partial government shutdown, which was sparked by an impasse over funding for the president’s demand for a wall with Mexico and has stretched into its 33rd day.
It comes just hours after Trump informed her in a letter that he would move ahead and deliver the address at the Capitol on the 29th, essentially daring the Speaker to scrap his plans.“Nancy Pelosi, or Nancy, as I call her, she doesn’t want to hear the truth,” Trump told reporters at the White House, calling Pelosi’s decision “a great, great horrible mark” for the country.“I don’t believe it’s ever happened before. And it’s always good to be a part of history but this is a very negative part of history,” he said. Trump suggested he may deliver the speech at a different venue, saying “we’ll do something in the alternative.” He provided no details about his plans. The move is fraught with risk for Pelosi, who is facing calls from some rank-and-file Democrats to take steps toward ending the shutdown.
Trump accused Pelosi of caving to the “the super-left Democrats, the radical Democrats,” by nixing his speech, adding “what’s going on in that party is shocking.”But many others in her party have backed her willingness to take a hard line against Trump and Democratic lawmakers quickly began lining up in support of Pelosi’s decision.Members of Pelosi’s leadership team quickly praised the Speaker’s decision, citing the urgency of reopening the government and the injustice of asking law enforcement officers to work without pay to secure the Capitol during the speech.