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Top Dem: ‘Highly unlikely’ State of the Union will happen amid shutdown

The head of the House Democratic Caucus said Wednesday that it’s all but certain party leaders will prevent President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Pence's chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19 MORE from giving his State of the Union address if the government remains closed on its scheduled Jan. 29 date.

“It’s absolutely not clear … what his present intention is,” Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesA tearful lesson of 2016: Polls don't matter if people don't vote Overnight Health Care: House Democrats slam pharma CEOs for price hikes driven by revenue, executive bonuses | Ex-FDA employees express worries to Congress over politicization of vaccines | Fauci said his mask stance was 'taken out of context' by Trump Top House Democrat: Parties 'much closer' to a COVID deal 'than we've ever been' MORE (D-N.Y.) told reporters in the Capitol. “But I can say that unless the government is reopened, it’s highly unlikely that the State of the Union is going to take place on the floor of the United States House of Representatives.”

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The remarks are the latest volley in the back-and-forth between the White House and House Democrats over the president’s annual speech to Congress and the country.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Senators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day MORE (D-Calif.), upon taking the gavel on Jan. 3, had invited Trump to deliver his speech on Jan. 29. Last week, however, Pelosi suggested the address be postponed until the partial shutdown has ended, citing security concerns surrounding the high-profile event.

Pelosi did not rescind her initial invitation, but asked the president to “work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened.”

In response, Trump canceled a scheduled trip by Pelosi and other Democrats to Belgium and Afghanistan. He did not address the State of the Union request directly.

And on Tuesday, the White House asked the House Sergeant-at-Arms for a walk-through of the Capitol in preparation for the speech — the clearest signal yet that Trump is still planning to deliver the address on its scheduled date.

While Pelosi has not responded to the walk-through request, Jeffries’s remarks strongly suggest the Speaker is not prepared to allow it to happen.