A grand Washington ritual became a potential casualty of the partial government shutdown as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked President Donald Trump to postpone his January 29 State of the Union speech.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Twitter her department and the Secret Service were prepared to handle a presidential speech at the Capitol.
"Since the start of modern budgeting in Fiscal Year 1977, a State of the Union address has never been delivered during a government shutdown", Pelosi wrote.
Presidents traditionally deliver their State of the Union messages at the invitation of the House speaker, although as Pelosi noted in her letter, until the Wilson administration most simply sent written messages to lawmakers.
A top House Republican, Louisiana's Steve Scalise (skuh-LEES'), tweets that Democrats are interested only in obstruction.
Meanwhile a group of Republican senators headed to the White House later Wednesday.More news: TSA staffing shortages hit nation's busiest airports amid government shutdown
House Democratic leaders said they did not tell members to boycott Trump's lunch but had pressed those invited to consider whether the talks would be merely a photo-op for Trump. Last week, he said in an interview on PBS' "NewsHour" that furloughed federal workers who are not getting paid during the shutdown are "better off" because they didn't have to use vacation days around the holidays.
We're going to keep lifting up the voices of those who are impacted by President Trump and Republican Senators' shutdown.
Talks between President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders broke down a week ago when Trump walked out of a meeting with top Democrats after Pelosi told the president she would not be willing to cede to the president's demand for wall funding if the government reopened. "I'm not for a wall", Pelosi said twice, mouthing the statement a third time for effect.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpVeterans groups demand end to shutdown: "Get your act together" Brown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration Pence on border wall: Trump won't be "deterred" by Dem "obstruction" MORE on Wednesday signed a bill guaranteeing back-pay to federal workers furloughed during the partial government shutdown that began in December.
On Monday, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey introduced the funding bill, along with a separate stopgap measure that would provide funding to the government through February 28, which is expected to come to the floor on Thursday, as per the report.
At the same time, the president hosted a bipartisan group of House members to discuss finding a solution to the impasse.
Underscoring that, Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., said Republicans were divided over a proposal by Sens. He'd think the pressure tactic had worked, and he'd have plenty of opportunities to do the same in the near future, they say. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Chris Coons, D-Del., for a three-week respite from the shutdown while negotiators seek agreement on wall money.