Events like the State of the Union speech are classified as National Special Security Events (NSSE) and they require special levels of security coverage, which has been undermined by the President’s government shutdown over the the budget request for his border wall. The Secret Service, which is responsible for coordinating security as NSSE events, has not been funded for 26 days. Pelosi has requested that Trump either postpone the State of the Union address or deliver it in writing.
"Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest 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 29," Pelosi writes in the letter dated Wednesday.
The following is the text of Ms. Pelosi’s letter, as released by her office.
Dear Mr. President:
On January 3rd, it was my privilege as Speaker to invite you to deliver the State of the Union address on January 29th. The Constitution calls for the President to “from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union.” During the 19th Century and up until the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, these annual State of the Union messages were delivered to Congress in writing. And since the start of modern budgeting in Fiscal Year 1977, a State of the Union address has never been delivered during a government shutdown.
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.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Speaker of the House
At CNN.com, they talk about the procedure involved in delaying the State of the Union.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi this morning asked that the White House work with her on finding a new date for Trump's State of the Union address, but make no mistake: This is up to her.
It’s the House speaker's prerogative to invite the President to give the State of the Union. While there’s no precedent for it (that we're aware of), if Pelosi decides the President shouldn’t go to the Capitol to speak on Jan. 29, the President will not go on Jan. 29
Keep in mind, in order to green light the State of the Union, both the House and the Senate have to pass resolutions. Neither have done so yet — and Pelosi controls whether the House passes one at all.