clearn.png
Wednesday July 17th, 2019 6:37AM

GOP dismisses suggestion that State of Union be postponed

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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 Jan. 29 State of the Union speech. She cited concerns about whether the hobbled government can provide adequate security, but Republicans cast her move as a ploy to deny Trump the stage.

In a letter to Trump, Pelosi said that with both the Secret Service and the Homeland Security Department entangled in the shutdown, the president should speak to Congress another time or he should deliver the address in writing.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen denied anyone's safety is compromised, saying Wednesday that both agencies "are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union."

Trump did not immediately respond to the request, and the White House, thrown off guard by the move, didn't immediately offer any official response. But GOP allies accused Pelosi of playing politics, with Republican Rep. Steve Scalise tweeting that Democrats are "only interested in obstructing @realDonaldTrump, not governing."

Pelosi, who issued the customary invitation to Trump weeks ago, hit the president in a vulnerable place, as he delights in taking his message to the public and has been preparing for the address for weeks.

The uncertainty surrounding the speech also underscored the unraveling of ceremonial norms and niceties in Trump's Washington, with the shutdown in its fourth week, the White House and Democrats in a stalemate and the impasse draining the finances of hundreds of thousands of federal employees.

Pelosi left unclear what would happen if Trump insisted on coming despite the welcome mat being pulled away. It takes a joint resolution of the House and Congress to extend the official invitation and set the stage.

"We'll have to have a security evaluation, but that would mean diverting resources," she told reporters when asked how she would respond if Trump still intended to come. "I don't know how that could happen."

Trump stayed quiet on the request throughout the day. During an Oval Office visit, Sen. Rand Paul said they discussed the shutdown but the president did not offer any reaction to Pelosi's suggestion to put off the speech.

Paul suggested on Twitter on Thursday that Trump deliver the address in the Senate, where Republicans hold a majority, which would be an unusual move.

"If Mrs. Pelosi refuses to allow the president to deliver the State of the Union in the House, I propose we move it to the Senate and make it happen!" Paul said.

Pressure on Trump intensified on Wednesday, the 26th day of the shutdown, as lawmakers from both parties scrambled for solutions. At the White House, Trump met a bipartisan group of lawmakers, as well as a group of Republican senators, but progress appeared elusive.

The shutdown, already the longest ever, entered its 27th day Thursday. The previous longest was 21 days in 1995-96, when Bill Clinton was president.

While Trump's own advisers said the shutdown was proving a greater drag on the economy than expected, Trump showed no signs of backing off a fight that he views as vital for his core supporters.

On Wednesday, Trump signed legislation into law affirming that the roughly 800,000 federal workers who have been going without pay will ultimately be compensated for their lost wages. That was the practice in the past.

As he weighs a response to Pelosi, Trump could not go forward with a State of the Union address in Congress without her blessing. Donald Ritchie, former historian of the Senate, said that anytime a president comes to speak, it must be at the request of Congress. Trump could opt to deliver a speech somewhere else, like the Oval Office, but it would not have the same ritualistic heft.

Democratic leaders did not ask the Secret Service if the agency would be able to secure the State of the Union event before sending the letter, according to a senior Homeland Security official, who was not authorized to speak publicly. Pelosi's office said Congress is already familiar with the percentage of Secret Service and Homeland Security employees who have been furloughed and working without pay.

The Secret Service starts preparing for events like these months in advance.

Lawmakers struggled to find a way out of the shutdown Wednesday. Trump is demanding $5.7 billion to build a wall along the Mexican border that he says is needed on humanitarian and security grounds. But Pelosi is refusing money for the wall she views as ineffective and immoral, and Democrats say they will discuss border security once the government has reopened.

Some expressed little optimism.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who has been working on bipartisan strategies, declared glumly: "I am running out of ideas."

Trump met a bipartisan group of lawmakers Wednesday that included seven Democrats. Two people who attended the White House meeting agreed it was "productive," but could not say to what extent Trump was listening or moved by the conversation.

The people, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the event candidly, said it seemed at some points as if people were talking past each other. Lawmakers talked about the shutdown's effect on their constituents and advocated for "border security." Trump and others on-and-off used the term "wall." It was not clear if progress had been made, by those accounts.

Meanwhile a group of Republican senators headed to the White House later Wednesday.

Many Republicans were unwilling to sign on to a letter led by Graham and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., to reopen the government for three weeks while talks continue. They had been warned off such a strategy by Vice President Mike Pence and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who told them Trump opposed such a short-term fix, but the senators pressed on anyway, trying to get 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans to join.

While Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she has signed, others said GOP support was lacking.

"They're a little short on the R side," said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., another leader of the effort.

The House and Senate announced they are canceling next week's planned recess if the shutdown continues, which seemed likely. Some Republicans expressed concerns over the impact of the shutdown and who was getting blamed.

Said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc.:"Right now, are you seeing any pressure on Democrats? I think Republicans are getting the lion's share of the pressure."

He added: "The president accepted the blame so people are happy to give it to him."

___

For AP's complete coverage of the U.S. government shutdown: https://apnews.com/GovernmentShutdown

___

Associated Press writers Chris Rugaber, Darlene Superville, Matthew Daly, Jonathan Lemire, Alan Fram, Colleen Long, Andrew Taylor, Laurie Kellman, Elana Schor and Ken Sweet contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Local/State News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online President, White House, advisers News, AP Online Congress News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Kenya still hunts for explosives after deadly hotel attack
Kenya hunts for explosives after hotel attack; Red Cross says missing people accounted for
6:03AM ( 5 minutes ago )
China says economy czar to visit Washington for trade talks
Top US, Chinese trade envoys to meet for talks in possible sign of progress toward ending tariff war over technology
6:00AM ( 8 minutes ago )
The Latest: Hewitt's Australian Open return over in doubles
Lleyton Hewitt's return to the Australian Open is over in the first round of men's doubles
5:50AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Human Rights Watch: Global pushback against autocrats grows
Human Rights Watch says rising opposition to authoritarian governments has been the most important human rights development in the past year
5:26AM ( 42 minutes ago )
New US strategy foresees sensors in space to track missiles
Trump administration calling for expanding defense technologies in space to better protect US
5:23AM ( 45 minutes ago )
The Latest: EU Brexit negotiator hopes for end to deadlock
The European Union's Brexit negotiator says he hopes British Prime Minister Theresa May's consultations with national political leaders can help break the deadlock over the terms of the U.K.'s departure from the EU and herald "a new stage" negotiations
5:21AM ( 47 minutes ago )
AP National News
2020 Democrats face a choice: Fight Trump or ignore him?
As the Democratic primary gets underway, Democrats must decide how _ and whether _ to respond to Trump's pugnacious and insensitive attacks on his political opponents
12:35AM ( 5 hours ago )
GOP dismiss suggestion that State of Union be postponed
Trump's Republican allies dismiss as a political ploy Pelosi's request that he postpone his planned State of the Union address
12:17AM ( 5 hours ago )
After Americans killed, Trump's Syria plan prompts questions
Trump's plan to withdraw US troops from Syria faces new questions after attack kills 4 Americans
12:16AM ( 5 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
North Korean official reportedly heading to US for talks
A senior North Korean official has arrived in Beijing, reportedly en route to the United States for talks ahead of a possible second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
1:19AM ( 4 hours ago )
Battle lines forming ahead of a looming US privacy law fight
Battle lines are forming ahead of a looming fight over a US privacy law
12:19AM ( 5 hours ago )
New US strategy forsees sensors in space to track missiles
Trump administration calling for expanding defense technologies in space to better protect US
12:06AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: House OKs Democratic bill to reopen government
The House has passed a Democratic measure to reopen the government through Feb. 8 and provide $14 billion in emergency spending for recent hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters
6:12PM ( 11 hours ago )
Shutdown may upend State of the Union speech
A ritual is imperiled as Pelosi asks Trump to delay State of the Union speech if shutdown persists
5:57PM ( 12 hours ago )
The Latest: Trump signs bill giving federal workers back pay
The White House says President Donald Trump has signed a bill that will require some 800,000 federal employees to be compensated for wages lost or work performed during the partial government shutdown
3:52PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Online President, White House, advisers News
US lawmaker opposes drilling permit work during shutdown
The chairman of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee says the Interior Department should not be working on oil and gas development permits and leases in Alaska and elsewhere during the partial government shutdown
7:32PM ( 10 hours ago )
Battles expected in many states over abortion-related bills
Legislators and activists will push this year to pass high-priority bills on abortion in statehouses across the United States
7:11PM ( 10 hours ago )
May wins no-confidence vote, but still is beset by Brexit
British Prime Minister Theresa May has survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament to remain in office _ but barely in power, as she battles to keep Brexit on track after lawmakers demolished her European Union divorce deal
5:45PM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
The Latest: Hewitt's Australian Open return over in doubles
Lleyton Hewitt's return to the Australian Open is over in the first round of men's doubles
5:50AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Iran newspapers, minister criticize US arrest of newscaster
Iranian hard-line papers, FM Zarif slam arrest in US of American anchorwoman from Iran's English-language TV
5:46AM ( 22 minutes ago )
May battles to keep Brexit on track after no-confidence win
British Prime Minister Theresa May is consulting opposition parties and other lawmakers in a battle to put Brexit back on track after surviving a no-confidence vote, though there is little immediate sign of a breakthrough
5:41AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Metallica, Miley Cyrus perform at Chris Cornell tribute
Many from Metallica and the Foo Fighters rocked on with electrifying performances as several others gave heartfelt speeches in memory of the late Chris Cornell
5:35AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Striking Greek state school teachers march through Athens
Hundreds of striking Greek civil servants, mostly school teachers, are marching through central Athens to protest proposed new hiring criteria for state school teachers
5:34AM ( 34 minutes ago )