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White House making plans to give State of the Union address in alternate venue if Pelosi refuses to open House chamber


Destination TBD

Martin H. Simon/Pool/Getty Images

The White House appears to be moving forward with its plans for the State of the Union address next week, according to Fox News.

White House officials have asked the House sergeant-at-arms to schedule a walk-through before the Jan. 29 address. However, details on the event remain unclear, including whether or not President Donald Trump would deliver his speech at the Capitol, the White House, or somewhere outside Washington, D.C.

Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged the president to either delay his speech or simply submit it in writing, citing security concerns caused by the partial government shutdown. She also canceled a previously scheduled walk-through, according to the report.

On Tuesday, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley accused Pelosi of "trying to play politics with that venue" in an appearance on Fox News.

"There are many ways he can deliver the State of the Union address," he added. "I'm not going to get ahead of anything he would announce."

Gidley also debunked Pelosi's suggestion that it was a security risk to hold the SOTU address in Congress during the shutdown.

"If the Secret Service can protect the president of the United States on a trip to Iraq, chances are they can protect the American president in the halls of Congress," he said.

What needs to happen for the SOTU to be held in the House chamber?

Since the president is not a member of Congress, he doesn't have a right to speak to either body without an invitation from the chamber he's addressing.

For the State of the Union address, both chambers must approve a resolution allowing the president to use the House chamber where both bodies would meet for a Joint Session of Congress.

Historically, the address has been held in the House because of seating constraints in the Senate.

What else?

Following Pelosi's request to delay Trump's speech, the president canceled her use of a military aircraft for a scheduled trip overseas.

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