President Donald Trump was scheduled to deliver his State of the Union speech Tuesday, before the government shutdown fight delayed it. So instead, AP asked Americans from around the country to speak about the state of their own unions. (Jan. 29)
WASHINGTON – After the drama, bitter fights and a cancellation, the day is almost here.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to give his State of the Union address on Tuesday before Congress, Supreme Court Justices and members of his cabinet.
The address was rescheduled after the partial government shutdown, which lasted 35 days and became the longest in U.S. history.
Trump’s remarks will come amid a widening partisan divide that could, in another week, lead to another government shutdown.
Here’s what to expect in his remarks and what you might want to look for:
After 35 days, President Trump announced a deal on Jan. 25 to officially end the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
But the deal was only a temporary fix to fund the government for three weeks, providing relief to federal employees who weren’t being paid and giving lawmakers more time to negotiate a compromise on border security and the president’s demand for a wall along the southern border.
President Donald Trump says he’s not waiting on Congress to move forward with building his long-promised southern border wall. Trump pointed to work that’s already underway at the U.S.-Mexico border with funding previously appropriated. (Jan. 31)
Trump’s speech is plopped in the middle of that three-week window, leaving it likely to be a theme in his address.
If a deal isn’t made between Republicans and Democrats by Feb. 15, parts of the federal government will run out of money and a second shut down will begin. Trump has also hinted that he might use his executive powers to free up money for a wall, curbing Congress’ authority on appropriating federal funding.
In the high-profile address, Trump is likely to try and appeal to Democrats in a bipartisan fashion, something he did last month when he announced the end of the shutdown.
“This is an opportunity for all parties to work together for the benefit for our whole beautiful, wonderful nation,” the president said. “If we make a fair deal, the American people will be proud of their government for proving that we can put country before party. We can show all Americans, and people all around the world, that both political parties are united when it comes to protecting our country and protecting our people.”
While Trump is giving his address, many eyes are likely to be on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will be seated just behind the president.
The California Democrat has been sparring with Trump for weeks over the government shutdown and refused to give Trump $5.7 billion for a border wall, calling it “immoral.” But on Tuesday, she’ll look on as Trump delivers a speech with many themes that are anathema to her.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi defended her suggestion to postpone the president’s State of the Union address as long as the partial government shutdown continues. (Jan. 17)
Several associates of both Pelosi and Trump have said the president appeared to have misread the speaker and underestimated her in their shutdown fight over the wall and willingness to stand firm against his demands.
Their dispute over the last few weeks led to back-and-forth letters, where Trump canceled Pelosi’s overseas trip to Afganistan and she canceled his State of the Union address, citing security concerns from due to the shutdown.
Shortly after Pelosi canceled Trump’s address, the president announced a deal to end the standoff without any money for a border wall. Many, including Republicans, said Pelosi appeared to come out on top in this fight.
Pelosi was careful not to gloat, saying, “I don’t see this as any power play.” But her counterpart in the Senate, Minority Leader Charles Schumer, was more direct.
“No one should ever underestimate the speaker,” the New York Democrat said. “As Donald Trump has learned.”
The power dynamic between Pelosi and Trump has become the most-watched relationship in Washington and is only going to intensify as Democrats, who now control the House, begin a number of investigations into Trump.
Immigration and border security
With the eyes of the nation on him, Trump is likely to use his address to make another bid for his border wall, hoping to rally the nation in support of the measure that Democrats have vowed to block.
The president has made offers, including three years of protections for some undocumented immigrants, including DREAMers who were brought to the U.S. as children.
President Donald Trump says he will declare a national emergency to build his U.S.-Mexico border wall if there is no deal with Congress by mid-February. (Jan. 25)
Democrats have thus far rejected any deal that includes money for a border wall. Last week, Trump said Republicans who were working as part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers to prevent another government shutdown were “wasting their time.”
“Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee are wasting their time,” Trump said on Twitter. “Democrats, despite all of the evidence, proof and Caravans coming, are not going to give money to build the DESPERATELY needed WALL.”
It’s possible that Trump could declare a national emergency to free up funds for a border wall. He could hint at the prospect in his address.
Trump frequently touts U.S. economic growth and low unemployment rates as a central accomplishment of his administration.
“The United States has a great economic story to tell,” the president posted on Twitter last month. “Number one in the World, by far!”
Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow says that the partial government shutdown will not have an adverse impact on the economy, and he predicts an immediate “snapback” after the president and congressional Democrats come to an agreement on border security. (Jan. 22)
In the third quarter of 2018, gross domestic product increased 3.4 percent, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
But those accomplishments did feel the effects of the government shutdown.
The Congressional Budget Office announced after the end of the shutdown that it wiped out $11 billion in economic activity, most of which will be recouped.
The episode will noticeably reduce economic growth in the first quarter, the CBO said.
What’s next on Trump’s agenda
The State of the Union address is written in the Constitution as a way for the president to inform Congress of the state of the country and what his agenda holds.
While immigration is a well-known issue that Trump seeks to reform during his time in office, his address is likely to touch on a variety of other issues, from the fight against ISIS and his work reforming the judicial system with a large number of conservative judges.
A senior administration official told reporters last week that the speech will have five themes: immigration; trade, including trade deals with China and the renegotiated deal with Canada and Mexico to replace NAFTA; infrastructure, something that both Republicans and Democrats have said could be done in a bipartisan fashion; healthcare and the lowering of prescription drugs; and international relations.
Politico reported on Thursday that the president was also looking to include the issue of abortion into his speech, a topic that has riled up Republicans due to Democratic-led late-term abortion bills in Virginia and New York.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a measure last month that allowed women to have an abortion even after 24 weeks into a pregnancy, all at the discretion of a health care practitioner.
“Democrats are becoming the Party of late-term abortion, high taxes, Open Borders and Crime!” Trump tweeted on Thursday.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer says former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams will deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. (Jan. 29)
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