House Republicans call for moving State of the Union to Senate chamber

 
Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksOvernight Defense: Trump hosts Israel, UAE, Bahrain for historic signing l Air Force reveals it secretly built and flew new fighter jet l Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to 'forever chemicals' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats tee up vote on climate-focused energy bill next week | EPA reappoints controversial leader to air quality advisory committee | Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to 'forever chemicals' Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to 'forever chemicals,' official says MORE (R-Ala.) is circulating a letter asking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi: Trump hurrying to fill SCOTUS seat so he can repeal ObamaCare Senate GOP aims to confirm Trump court pick by Oct. 29: report Trump argues full Supreme Court needed to settle potential election disputes MORE (R-Ky.) and Vice President Pence to consider moving the speech across the Capitol. He also suggested that House Democrats should get low-priority seating.
 
"[S]pace limitations may restrict the number of Congressmen who may attend. Inasmuch as House Democrats are responsible for the State of the Union not being timely held in the House chamber, I recommend that House Democrats be at the bottom of the priority list for attendance inasmuch as they are responsible for the lack of adequate space in the first instance," Brooks wrote in the letter.
 
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Twenty-eight lawmakers had signed on to the letter as of Thursday evening, according to a spokesman.
 
"Holding the State of the Union in the Senate chamber is the best way to reveal the veracity of Speaker Pelosi's alleged once-in-history reason for cancelling or postponing the State of the Union," the letter states.
 
McConnell's office did not comment on the suggestion, describing it as a hypothetical. 
 
Joint sessions and meetings of Congress have typically taken place in the House chamber since 1809.
 
But according to the Senate historian's office, presidents have delivered addresses in the Senate chamber before, including Presidents Ford, Nixon, Truman and Hoover.
 
In one instance, President Wilson requested to speak in the Senate chamber in 1918 to discuss women's suffrage. The Senate passed a resolution by unanimous consent agreeing to his request and forming a committee of senators to escort him into the chamber, according to a copy of the Congressional Record that details the request. 
 
When asked what would happen if Trump insists on delivering the address on the originally planned date of Jan. 29, Pelosi said Thursday: "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
 
Pelosi defended her decision to suggest that Trump delay the address until the shutdown is over or simply deliver it to Congress in writing.
 
"I'm not denying him a platform at all. I'm saying let's get a date when government is open. Let's pay the employees. Maybe he thinks it's OK not to pay people who do work. I don't," Pelosi said at a press conference.
 
Pelosi had expressed concerns about the impact on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Secret Service, which are both affected by the shutdown, on planning for the event. But Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenDHS IG won't investigate after watchdog said Wolf, Cuccinelli appointments violated law Appeals court sides with Trump over drawdown of immigrant protections Democrats smell blood with new DHS whistleblower complaint MORE said Wednesday that DHS and the Secret Service are "fully prepared" to secure the State of the Union.
 
 
"What I would suggest is — Sen. McConnell’s in charge of the Senate; let’s host it in the Senate," Paul said on "Fox & Friends." "This would be the first time in history that the House would deny the president the forum of speaking." 
 
"If she’s going to do that, let’s hold it in the Senate," Paul concluded.
  
Jordain Carney contributed.