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Nielsen says DHS, US Secret Service ‘fully prepared’ for State of Union

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Homeland Security Chief Kirstjen Nielsen on Wednesday said her agency and the US Secret Service were “fully prepared” to provide security for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address scheduled for January 29.

In a tweet, Nielsen said, “The Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union. We thank the Service for their mission focus and dedication and for all they do each day to secure our homeland.”

This came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to Trump urging him to postpone the address or submit it in written from in light of security concerns linked to the partial government shutdown.

Read more: Nancy Pelosi suggests Trump either postpone his State of the Union address until after the government shutdown ends, or submit it in writing

“Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th,” Pelosi said in the letter.

Agents with the US Secret Service are currently not being paid, but still have to show up to work, due to the government shutdown. The majority of Homeland Security employees are also working without pay during the shutdown.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer at one point on Wednesday suggested Pelosi’s letter meant the address “is off,” but later walked back this claim and said he’d mischaracterized the House Speaker’s words.

Read more: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer walks back comment that Trump’s State of the Union address ‘is off’

The government shutdown, which began in late December, is the longest in US history and is a result of an ongoing dispute between Trump and Democratic leaders over funding for a wall he wants to build along the US-Mexico border.

Trump wants $5.7 billion for the wall, but Democrats have refused to provide the funding for a project they’ve deemed unnecessary and exorbitantly expensive.

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