House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has cancelled the president’s state of the union address until the government is re-opened. After rejecting invitations earlier in the week from the White House to negotiate on funding for border security, Pelosi sent a letter to the president implying he would not be welcome to address the American people.
In her letter sent on Wednesday, Pelosi cited security concerns as the reason for the delay. She lamented that Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security “have not been funded for 26 days now – with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs.”
Senior law enforcement officials are responding to Pelosi’s letter by debunking her false reasoning. Secret Service is fully funded and began planning security for the joint address months ago.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) said there is nothing the president can do to change the speaker’s mind.
“Yep! The speaker is the one who invites the president to speak at a joint session, and she has said as long as government is shut down we’re not going to be doing business as usual,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said to CNN. “The state of the union is off.”
If things happen as Pelosi says now, it would mark the first time that an annual address will not be sent to Congress from the president since 1790.