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24 Jan, 2019 08:40

Trump gives in to Pelosi, agrees to postpone State of Union speech until end of shutdown

Trump gives in to Pelosi, agrees to postpone State of Union speech until end of shutdown

The weeks-long squabble over the State of the Union speech appears to be over, after the US president conceded that he would not deliver the annual address until the government shutdown ends.

“As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. I agreed. She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date,” Donald Trump tweeted late on Wednesday night.

“This is her prerogative – I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over. I am not looking for an alternative venue for the SOTU Address because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber. I look forward to giving a ‘great’ State of the Union Address in the near future!”

In response to Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted back that the date of the speech will depend on the Senate passing the Democrat-backed bill to temporarily return piecemeal funding to the government, which has been in partial shutdown since December 22.

“Mr. President, I hope by saying ‘near future’ you mean you will support the House-passed package to #EndTheShutdown that the Senate will vote on tomorrow. Please accept this proposal so we can re-open government, repay our federal workers and then negotiate our differences,” replied the Democratic politician.

As the leader of the Democrat-controlled House, where the pomp-filled occasion takes places in front of members of both chambers of Congress, Pelosi has the procedural right to call on the president to speak, or to choose when the session adjourns, meaning that the event could not take place there without her consent.

Also on rt.com Dis-invited by Pelosi, Trump plans ‘alternative’ for State of the Union

Trump and Pelosi spent Wednesday exchanging passive-aggressive letters to each over the address, with the president also telling the media that the Democrats had become “radicalized” and that Pelosi was “afraid of the truth.” Trump said at the time that he was searching for other venues – the Senate and other public spaces have been used occasionally for the State of the Union – before apparently abandoning the idea.

Pelosi first declared that the speech would not be able to go ahead due to security concerns caused by the shutdown, though this was later denied by officials. Since then, the speech has become a negotiating pawn, with Trump refusing security for a scheduled overseas trip by Pelosi and a House delegation.

Two rival bills will be presented to the Senate on Thursday, one endorsed by each party, with the Republican bill demanding that $5.7 billion be allocated to building the wall with Mexico, in exchange for concessions on the status of immigrants already in the United States.

Also on rt.com FBI runs out of money for drugs & informants, shutdown-triggered report warns

They will need 60 votes out of 100 to pass, meaning that unlikely opposition support will be required. Nonetheless, even a negative outcome may present some pathways towards an eventual bipartisan compromise.

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