The one time of the year the vast majority of the Congress is together and on its best behavior is the State of the Union Address, when the President visits the joint chambers and tells the world how the heck government affairs are going. For a number of decades now, that even has been in the evening, during prime time hours, to allow Americans to hear what the president has to say in real time.
This year, however, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has asked the president if he would be so kind as to move the State of the Union Address to another time of day or to revert to previous practice and for him to deliver the State of the Union in written form. In her letter, she cited the big standoff currently underway between Congressional Democrats and the White House.
In September 2018, Secretary Nielsen designated State of the Union Addresses as National Special Security Events (NSSEs), recognizing the need for “the full resources of the Federal Government to be brought to bear” to ensure the security of these events. The extraordinary demands presented by NSSEs require weeks of detailed planning with dozens of agencies working together to prepare for the safety of all participants.
The U.S. Secret Service was designated as the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating, planning, exercising, and implementing security for National Special Security Events by Public Law 106-544, December 19, 2000. However, both the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security have not been funded for 26 days now — with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs.
Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th.
Thirteen days ahead, and she wants to change plans.
Things that make you go, hmmm…..