House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has written to Donald Trump suggesting that it might not be the best idea for him to give a full-fledged State of the Union address in the middle of a government shutdown. “Since the start of modern budgeting,” she writes, “a State of the Union address has never been delivered during a government shutdown.” But, into the early 20th century, the State of the Union was delivered in writing, not as a speech.
Pelosi goes on to note that the State of the Union has special security requirements, and “both the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security have not been funded for 26 days now—with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs.” In light of that, Pelosi suggests two alternatives:
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 on January 29.
It’s Trump’s move now.