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Shutdown Standoff Extends To Dispute Over State Of The Union


Reflecting the bitter divide that has led to a month-long government shutdown, President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have engaged in a contentious back-and-forth over the president's State of the Union address.

Trump and Pelosi exchanged letters regarding the speech that were written in an outwardly friendly tone but hinted at the deep divide between the two leaders.

The president sent a letter to Pelosi on Wednesday rejecting her request that he delay the planned address to Congress next week, but the Speaker responded by telling Trump the House will not consider a resolution authorizing the speech.

"I am writing 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 government has opened," Pelosi said.

She added, "I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened."

The letter from Pelosi came after Trump said he still planned to deliver the speech in the House chamber on January 29th, dismissing security concerns raised by the Speaker.

"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!" Trump wrote.

Pelosi said in a letter sent to Trump last Wednesday that the speech should be postponed until after the government has re-opened or be delivered to Congress in writing.

The Speaker attributed the request to security concerns, noting both the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security are not being funded due to the shutdown.

However, Trump told Pelosi the Secret Service and Homeland Security have explained there "would be absolutely no problem regarding security with respect to the event."

"Accordingly, there are no security concerns regarding the State of the Union Address," Trump wrote. "Therefore, I will be honoring your invitation, and fulfilling my Constitutional duty, to deliver important information to the people and Congress of the United States of America regarding the State of our Union."

In a move that was seen by many as payback for requesting the speech be delayed, Trump postponed an overseas trip by Pelosi last Thursday.

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