Shutdown Update: Trump Will Seek New State of the Union Venue

White House flag at half mast

The tit-for-tat between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., continued to rage Wednesday, resulting in the President saying he is planning for an another location to deliver his State of the Union address which is traditionally hosted by the House of Representatives with a scheduled date of Jan. 29.

Earlier in the day, President Trump sent Pelosi a letter saying that he plans to deliver the address at the House on Jan. 29, despite the Speaker rescinding his invitation to do so on Jan. 16. When Pelosi rescinded the invitation, she cited security concerns resulting from the government shutdown, which is now on day 32.

“It would be so very sad for our country if the State of the Union were not delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!” President Trump wrote in the letter.

A few hours later, Pelosi responded in a letter of her own by saying the House would not consider a resolution authorizing the President to deliver the address in the House chamber until the government is fully reopened.

Referencing her revised invitation, Pelosi said in today’s letter: “I said we should work together to find a mutually agreeable date when government has re-opened and I hope that we can still do that.”

Trump said that he will plan an alternative to the traditional State of the Union address, and look for a different venue to deliver the speech.

On the legislative front, the House today passed a package of six full-year appropriations measures that will provide funding for the Federal government through Sept. 30, 2019–the end of the current fiscal year. The package provides funding for the Department of Homeland Security and includes $1.6 billion for border security–reflecting a previously negotiated bipartisan provision.

The White House said, however, that President Trump would veto the bill if the legislation makes it through the Senate.

Majority Speaker Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has refused to bring any funding bills to a vote on the Senate floor that do not have the support of the President.  While he has made good on that promise throughout the partial shutdown, the Senate will vote on two competing funding bills tomorrow – one that contains $5.7 billion of border wall funding and thus President Trump’s blessing, and another favored by Democrats that would reopen the government through Feb. 8 and does not contain border wall funding.

While neither of the bills is expected to receive enough votes to make it to the President’s desk, the fact that the Senate votes will take place at all is seen by some observers as a glimmer of bipartisan cooperation that has seemed scarce since the shutdown began.

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