Pelosi blocks Trump's annual address until US gov't shutdown ends

The ongoing partial government shutdown has lasted 33 days and is the longest of its type in American history.

    US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday informed President Donald Trump that he would not be allowed to deliver an annual State of the Union address in the House chamber until a partial government shutdown ended.

    In a letter to Trump, Pelosi said: "I am writing to inform you that the House of Representatives will not consider a concurrent resolution authorising the president's State of the Union address in the House chamber until government has opened."

    Passage of such a resolution is required before the president can speak in the House.

    The speech had been set for January 29.

    Trump had said earlier on Wednesday he planned to deliver the State of the Union address in the House chamber as scheduled on January 29, rejecting Pelosi's request that he delay it.

    In an escalation of rhetoric that essentially dared Pelosi to uninvite him, Trump told her in a letter, which the White House released earlier on Wednesday, that he was "looking forward" to giving the speech, an annual event in American politics.

    "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. 

    Longest shutdown in history

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    The ongoing partial government shutdown, the longest of its type in US history, came into effect over Trump's demand for billions of dollars in funding to erect a wall on the US-Mexico border. 

    Entering into its 33rd day on Wednesday, furloughed federal employees, unions and others have expressed anger over being forced to work without pay or not being permitted to work at all. 

    On Saturday, Trump offered to temporarily extend protections for young undocumented individuals brought to the country as children, as well as that of Temporary Protection Status holders in exchange for border wall funding.

    Before the plan is officially announced, Democrats decried it as "unacceptable" and "inadequate", calling it "a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives".

    Conducted between January 18 and 22, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found that only seven percent of voters support "dedicating funding to a border wall if it was the only way to end the government shutdown". 

    SOURCE: News agencies