Date for Trump's delayed State of the Union speech confirmed

3 weeks ago

Donald Trump will make the annual State of the Union speech in Congress on 5 February after accepting an invitation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Mr Trump said in a letter to Pelosi on Monday that it is his “great honour” to accept her invitation to speak before a joint session of Congress next week.

He wrote: “We have a great story to tell and yet, great goals to achieve!”

Ms Pelosi’s invitation was published earlier in a letter by her spokesman, Drew Hammill, who said the pair had already agreed the date.

Image: 800,00 federal workers were forced to stay at home

The annual speech, in which the president outlines the administration’s priorities for the coming year, had become one of the most high-profile casualties of the longest government shutdown in US history.

The Republican president had been scheduled to make the speech, which traditionally takes place in the House of Representatives before a joint session of Congress, on 29 January.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reply to the President's immigration speech for the Deomcrats
Image: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to give in to Mr Trump's demands

But Ms Pelosi, his key Democrat opponent, refused to hold it until the partial shutdown ended. This happened on Friday after a record 35 days of disruption.

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Mr Trump caved in and announced a three-week funding bill until 15 February, meaning 800,000 workers were paid.

He was forced to back down from his demand that Congress provide more border wall money before federal agencies get back to work, but he warned that the government could shut down again if there is no breakthrough on his project.

Union workers demonstrate against the government shutdown
Image: Union workers demonstrate against the government shutdown

The battle between the Republican president and the newly empowered Democrats had become increasingly petty.

The White House considered alternative venues for the address and blocked a congressional delegation’s trip to Afghanistan which was meant to be led by the speaker.

The White House is seen in the background as people bike past trash uncollected on the National Mall, due to the partial shutdown of the US government on January 2, 2019 in Washington, DC
Image: Refuse builds up in a park near the White House during the shutdown

Nine US government departments had been affected, along with various smaller agencies.

The crisis led to flight delays at major US airports across the country and fears that tax returns would not be processed.

Americans began to file their annual accounts on Monday.

Congressional researchers estimate the shutdown cost the US government $ 3bn (£2.28bn).

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