Trump ignores Pelosi's un-invite on State of the Union

Regular time, regular place: That's what Donald Trump has said about the annual presidential speech to the American people. In doing so, he defied Nancy Pelosi's bid to delay it amid the shutdown — but she fired back.

In the latest chapter of the ongoing US government shutdown saga, President Donald Trump delivered a forceful challenge to his rival, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, insisting on Wednesday that he would deliver his annual State of the Union address to the nation on January 29 in Congress. Pelosi had previously told Trump that the speech would be postponed on security grounds unless the government shutdown were halted first.

The personal feud between Democrat Pelosi and Republican Trump is a by-product of the partial government shutdown caused by the failure to reach a compromise over border protection and immigration issues

"I will be honoring your invitation," Trump wrote Pelosi in a letter, indicating that he would deliver his annual address in the traditional location of the House chamber. "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!"

Nancy Pelosi is the current Speaker of the House

Pelosi, the number one in the House of Representatives, had followed customary procedure and initially invited Trump to speak in the chamber. However, as the government shutdown continued, she then raised the first challenge in what has become a tit-for-tat test of wills by taking the unusual step of requesting that Trump not deliver his address before a joint session due to security concerns.

Business | 12.01.2019

Trump later retaliated by denying her permission to use a US military jet for a foreign trip.

No way, Mr. President

Pelosi responded to Trump's letter with a missive of her own.

"I am writing you to inform you that the House of Representatives will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing the President's State of the Union address in the House Chamber until the government has opened."

The US constitution states that the president "shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union," but no location or communication form is specified.

While it is customary to deliver the address in front of a joint session of Congress, a president needs both chambers' approval in resolution form to do so.

Officials in the White House have been considering alternative venues for the January 29 speech.

Related Subjects

cmb/msh (Reuters, AP)

US government shutdowns: A chronology

Sundown shutdown

As midnight approaches on September 30 of each year, it's go time for Congress: approve a budget or shut down government operations. Originally, Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution required lawmakers to approve the budget. Honing it further in 1870, the Antideficiency Act targeted agencies that spent money without asking. But meeting deadlines was a chronic problem. That is, until the 1980s.

US government shutdowns: A chronology

No money, no pay, no work

At the behest of President Jimmy Carter, the US attorney general revisited the Antideficiency Act in 1980 to answer the question: "Without a budget, are government employees required to work?" According to Benjamin Civiletti's legal opinion, no money meant no work. Carter's presidency saw only small shutdowns, but the new interpretation of the law turned shutdowns into a negotiating tactic.

US government shutdowns: A chronology

Ronald Reagan and the first shutdown

The first real shutdown — over 240,000 workers furloughed, more than $80 million (€65 million) down the drain — occurred in November 1981. Still in his early days, President Ronald Reagan refused to sign a budget without billions in tax cuts. The Republican-controlled Senate and the Democrat-controlled House found a solution by the next day. This happened seven more times by his last year in 1989.

US government shutdowns: A chronology

Bill Clinton and the rise of the partisan shutdown

Budget impasses were largely drama-free until 1995, when President Bill Clinton faced off against Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and House Speaker Newt Gingrich (pictured left). The Republican-led Congress wanted a balanced budget within seven years, higher Medicare premiums and rollbacks on environment regulations. It took 27 days in total to strike a deal. The cost: at least $1 billion.

US government shutdowns: A chronology

A game for Congress, a headache for the agencies

Many departments such as the military, national security and any deemed essential to the protection of life continue working during shutdowns. But agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must cease operations. This results in delays on tax decisions, food inspection and disease research among other problems.

US government shutdowns: A chronology

Barack Obama and Congress on Cruz-control

The next major shutdown came in 2013 under President Barack Obama. His Affordable Health Care Act — or Obamacare — faced stark opposition from conservative House Republicans. Led by Senator Ted Cruz, the group pushed for drastic curbs on the health care act in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. The 18-day shutdown resulted in the furlough of some 850,000 workers. The cost: $24 billion.

US government shutdowns: A chronology

A shutdown lasting years?

The latest shutdown, which lasted 35 days, was the longest in history. Hundreds of federal workers went without paychecks. Despite the disruption, President Donald Trump refused to budge on his insistence that funding for the Mexico border wall be included in the budget. In fact, the president had said he was prepared for the impasse to go on for years — before he gave in and reopened government.

US government shutdowns: A chronology

Cost of playing politics

The prohibitive cost of shutting down some government operations has not tamed the trend. Washington loses millions not just in revenue, but also in back pay, even though furloughed employees stay at home. So, time lost, work lost — and money lost. According to ratings agency Standard and Poor's, the current rate for a shutdown will cost the US roughly $6 billion per week.

US government shutdowns: A chronology

Shutdowns contributing to distrust?

But the biggest loser is not the economy, or the party that makes the most concessions. Arguably, it's the government itself. According to a Gallup poll in the aftermath of the 2013 shutdown, public dissatisfaction with the government in general rose to 33 percent. The previous all-time high regarding political dysfunction was 26 percent during the Watergate scandal.