Johnson: Hold SOTU in Senate

Published 10:33 am Friday, January 18, 2019

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, has called on the U.S. Senate and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, to host President Donald Trump for the State of the Union address if the House of Representatives decides to postpone the speech.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, had raised the possibility of postponing the speech due the government shutdown.

“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 Jan. 29,” Pelosi wrote to Trump on Wednesday.

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The federal government shutdown, the longest in the nation’s history, began on Dec. 22 in a dispute over funding for Trump’s proposed border wall.

Johnson, in the minority since Democrats took control of the chamber in the 2018 election, issued a statement in response to Pelosi’s message.

“If House Speaker Nancy Pelosi disinvites President Trump to provide the annual State of the Union address in the House of Representatives chamber, I will be calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to invite President Trump to give his speech in the Senate Chamber,” Johnson said. “I’ve already suggested the State of the Union is an ideal time to solve the crisis at the southern border and end the partial government shutdown with all of the members of Congress in the same room at the same time, but apparently  Nancy Pelosi is thinking the opposite. With all that is going on right now, the last thing we should do is cancel the State of the Union.’

The State of the Union typically occurs before members of both houses of Congress in the larger House of Representatives chamber. The president is called on by the U.S. Constitution to give an annual report on the nation.

While it is not specified as a speech and can be delivered in writing, all presidents, other than Herbert Hoover, have delivered the annual speech to a joint session Congress since he began the practice in the 1910s.