The Trump administration on Wednesday pushed back on Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden to take part in CNN town hall in Baltimore Manchin on finishing agenda by Halloween: 'I don't know how that would happen' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Build Back Better items on chopping block MORE’s (D-Calif.) claim that “security concerns” caused by the partial government shutdown should force the postponement of President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE’s State of the Union address.
“The Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenFar-left bullies resort to harassing, shaming Kyrsten Sinema — it won't work Ex-Trump official: 'No. 1 national security threat I've ever seen' is GOP Left-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides MORE said on Twitter.
Nielsen praised the service, which her department oversees, “for their mission focus and dedication and for all they do each day to secure our homeland.”
The Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union. We thank the Service for their mission focus and dedication and for all they do each day to secure our homeland.— Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen (@SecNielsen) January 16, 2019
The secretary’s comments are the administration’s first public response to Pelosi’s argument that the Jan. 29 address should be pushed back.
In a letter to Trump, Pelosi pointed out that Secret Service agents and other personnel responsible for securing the speech are not being paid during the partial shutdown and argued it could pose a security risk.
“Sadly, given the security concerns and unless the government reopens this week, I suggest we work together to determine another suitable date after the government has reopened for this address,” she wrote.
Pelosi also suggested Trump could instead deliver the address in writing.
The White House has yet to directly respond to the Speaker’s request to move the date, though Nielsen’s statement indicates Trump is not inclined to grant it.
White House officials have been considering using the president’s annual address to the nation to admonish Democrats over the shutdown and their opposition to Trump’s request for $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall.
But others have warned Trump that he faces political danger as the shutdown, which has already entered a record-setting 26th day, drags on.
Roughly 800,000 workers have already missed paychecks due to the shutdown.
Pelosi argued the lack of funding for the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will hamper security planning because “critical departments” are being “hamstrung by furloughs.”
She wrote that Nielsen last year designated the address, which is attended by the vice president, Cabinet officials, lawmakers, military leaders and Supreme Court justices, a special national security event that requires the “full resources of the federal government to be brought to bear,” quoting Nielsen’s own words.
More than 80 percent of the Secret Service workforce is considered excepted or exempt and are working during the shutdown, according to a DHS planning document published last month.
The Secret Service’s protective mission is considered an exempted activity that is not directly changed by the shutdown.
Updated at 3:09 p.m.