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US shutdown: Trump delays State of the Union address

WASHINGTON:    US President Donald Trump says he will not deliver his annual State of the Union speech until after the government shutdown is over. On Wednesday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi withdrew an invitation for him to address Congress, saying government services should fully reopen first. The shutdown has left 800,000 federal staff without pay since 22 December. Mr Trump wants $5.7bn (£4.4bn) to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, but newly empowered Democrats have refused. The row over border security has led to the longest government shutdown in US history. Having initially said the speech should be "on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location", he conceded overnight that he could not deliver on his pledge. He acknowledged Ms Pelosi's refusal to allow Congress to host the State of the Union address until the shutdown - now in its 34th day - had been resolved. "This is her prerogative," he said. Ms Pelosi responded with her own tweet saying she hoped Mr Trump would back a bill passed by the House of Representatives to fund the agencies affected by the shutdown. "Please accept this proposal so we can re-open government, repay our federal workers and then negotiate our differences," she said. Democrats have argued that with so many federal employees furloughed - temporarily laid off - or working without pay, the high-profile State of the Union address, which involves both chambers of Congress and the president, would not be logistically feasible. But Mr Trump has denied that there were any security concerns posed by the ongoing partial shutdown. He also rejected suggestions that he could deliver the speech from the White House or another location. 

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