Shutdown Roundup: Pelosi Requests State of the Union Delay, Super Bowl Travel Woes and More
With no end in sight, the shutdown is in its fourth week.
President Trump is scheduled to address the nation on Jan. 29 with his State of the Union speech, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has sent a letter asking him to consider postponing the speech until government reopens. "I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address," she wrote to the president. Pelosi cited the gap in funding for the Secret Service and Homeland Security Department as her reason, noting concerns of "critical departments hamstrung by furloughs." Pelosi suggested, alternatively, that Trump could give the "State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th." Thomas Jefferson delivered his State of the Union addresses in written form, which continued as a tradition until Woodrow Wilson delivered his as a speech in 1913. Read Pelosi's letter in full at Speaker.gov.
One of the agencies mostly shuttered due to the funding gap is the Federal Election Commission, meaning that there is a skeleton staff regulating and enforcing campaign finance laws during the shutdown. The Center For Public Integrity spoke to FEC chairwoman Ellen Weintraub last week and she said that the shutdown is "incredibly wasteful and unproductive. It’s the taxpayers probably paying a lot of people not to work.” Weintraub, a Democratic commissioner who is serving a one-year term as FEC chairwoman, took a dig at the president by telling the Center that the agency is "just stuck, and there’s nothing in our building that has anything to do with walls.” Read more at Center For Public Integrity.
The government produces lots of data each day and the shutdown has caused federal data streams to slow considerably, according to a Pew Research report. The Census Bureau has stopped most operations not relating to the 2020 count, including data on new home sales and international trade. The shuttered Bureau of Economic Analysis will not have the full slate of data to estimate 2018 gross domestic product and the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics is not updating or publishing crime statistics. Read more at Pew.
The Super Bowl is set for Feb. 3 in Atlanta, home to the world's busiest airport. The shutdown's effects on air travel are causing concerns for Super Bowl planners in Atlanta, according to a CBS News report. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a Tuesday news conference that the city will "encourage people to get to the airport very early" because of "our federal government shutdown and with the long TSA lines." Feb. 4, the day after the game, is expected to see over 100,000 travelers to pass through the airport. "Obviously, we are in uncharted territory with the shutdown that's gone on this long, and we are preparing as best we can from our vantage point," Bottoms said. Read more at CBS News.