House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said Sunday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to hold the State of the Union “hostage” as part of the debate over border security, by not allowing President Trump to deliver the speech in Congress.
“I thought it was disgraceful that she removed the State of the Union from the invitation that she had already issued to the president … I think Nancy Pelosi is afraid of the country hearing this message that the president has about why we need to secure the border,” Scalise, R-La., told “Sunday Morning Futures.”
Even though Trump ended the partial government shutdown last week, agreeing to a short-term spending bill that funds the government until Feb. 15, the official date of the address is yet to be determined. Pelosi revoked her invite to Trump, thus postponing the speech – scheduled for Jan. 29 – citing security concerns related to the then-ongoing shutdown, as those tasked with providing security were not being paid.
Pelosi and Trump have feuded over his demands for $5.7 billion in funding for his proposed wall on the southern border with Mexico, which ultimately led to the stalemate over funding the federal government and the partial shutdown lasting 35 days, the longest in U.S. history.
“What I’d said to the president is when the government is open, we will discuss a mutually agreeable date, and I’ll look forward to doing that and welcoming the president to the House of Representatives for the State of the Union when we agree on that mutually agreeable date,” Pelosi told reporters on Friday.
However, Scalise said the president could deliver the State of the Union early next week, and that it should be done in the House.
“Feb. 5 is a date that seems to work well … Frankly I think it’s something the American people look at in a very negative way when they look at Nancy Pelosi trying to hold the State of the Union hostage as part of this debate over border security,” Scalise said.