House Speaker Pelosi blocks Trump speech until government reopens

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday informed President Donald Trump that he will not be allowed to deliver an annual State of the Union address in the House chamber until a partial government shutdown ends.

In a letter to Trump, Pelosi said: "I am writing to inform you that the House of Representatives will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing 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 Jan. 29.

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

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Donald Trump and Mike Pence visit Martin Luther King Jr. memorial
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Donald Trump and Mike Pence visit Martin Luther King Jr. memorial
U.S. President Donald Trump, center, and Vice President Mike Pence, left, arrive at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. Trump and senior Democrats took their first steps toward a possible compromise deal on immigration and border security over the weekend, even as the president ramped up his feud with Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the government shutdown in its fifth week. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Pool via Bloomberg
U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and Vice President Mike Pence visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. Trump and senior Democrats took their first steps toward a possible compromise deal on immigration and border security over the weekend, even as the president ramped up his feud with Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the government shutdown in its fifth week. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Pool via Bloomberg
U.S. President Donald Trump, center, and Vice President Mike Pence, left, visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. Trump and senior Democrats took their first steps toward a possible compromise deal on immigration and border security over the weekend, even as the president ramped up his feud with Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the government shutdown in its fifth week. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Pool via Bloomberg
U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and Vice President Mike Pence arrive at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. Trump and senior Democrats took their first steps toward a possible compromise deal on immigration and border security over the weekend, even as the president ramped up his feud with Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the government shutdown in its fifth week. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Pool via Bloomberg
U.S. President Donald Trump, center, and Vice President Mike Pence, left, visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. Trump and senior Democrats took their first steps toward a possible compromise deal on immigration and border security over the weekend, even as the president ramped up his feud with Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the government shutdown in its fifth week. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Pool via Bloomberg
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence depart after placing a wreath at the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, U.S., January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence depart after placing a wreath at the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, U.S., January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrive to place a wreath at the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, U.S., January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence pause after placing a wreath at the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, U.S., January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence watches after placing a wreath at the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, U.S., January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence pause after placing a wreath at the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, U.S., January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
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In an escalation of rhetoric that essentially dared Pelosi to disinvite him, Trump told her in a letter, which the White House released earlier 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.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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