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Trump to deliver SOTU Address on February 5

Trump to deliver SOTU Address on February 5
Image Credit: IANS

Donald Trump will deliver the State of the Union Address on February 5 after it was delayed due to a government shutdown over the US president's demand for funding for a wall along the border with Mexico. The traditional annual speech by President Trump was initially scheduled for January but had to be postponed because of the largest government shutdown due to differences between the White House and the Opposition Democrats on the issue of the wall.

Trump is demanding USD 5.7 billion to build his border wall while Democrats were holding firm at USD 1.3 billion for border security measures. Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to pass the necessary resolutions in Congress to allow for a State of the Union Address and told the president that he needed to first allow the federal government to fully re-open.

Pelosi cited security concerns because government workers were not being paid during the shutdown. Trump considered moving the address to another location but ultimately decided to wait to deliver it after the shutdown was over. The 35-day government shutdown – the longest in US history – ended Friday when Trump and congressional leaders struck a deal to reopen the government through February 15. Pelosi sent a letter to the president on Monday formally inviting him to deliver the speech before a joint session of Congress. Trump quickly accepted the invitation.

"When I wrote to you on January 23, I stated that we should work together to find a mutually agreeable date when government has reopened to schedule this year's State of the Union address," Pelosi wrote. "In our conversation today, we agreed on February 5th." Trump wrote back that it is his "great honour" to accept. "We have a great story to tell and yet, great goals to achieve!" he wrote. The State of the Union address comes at a pivotal time for Trump, who will be able to lay out his agenda for the coming year before a national audience amid some of the lowest approval ratings of his presidency.

The agreement on a State of the Union Address came as the Congressional Budget Office said the partial shutdown would definitely have a negative economic impact. The annual State of the Union address is the keynote prime time speech by the president to the Congress in which he sets out his legislative agenda and national priorities for the next year and highlights his achievements to the American people. The speech will be Trump's third to a Joint Session of Congress — his initial appearance on February 28, 2017 was weeks after his inauguration and not considered a formal State of the Union.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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