The Trump administration doubled down on grounding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and effectively grounded all congressional delegations for the duration of the shutdown.
On Friday morning, Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Russ Vought tweeted a memo indicating that all congressional travel — at government expense — was being suspended until the shutdown ends.
→ https://t.co/LiO58tg3lo pic.twitter.com/80StBaUoOQ
— Russ Vought (@RussVought45) January 18, 2019
The memo explained that, while the government would still provide for the security of traveling members of Congress, the travel expenses would not be absorbed by the government. It reads:
Under no circumstances during a government shutdown will any government owned, rented, leased, or chartered aircraft support any Congressional delegation, without the express written approval of the White House Chief of Staff. Nor will any funds appropriated to the Executive Branch be used for any Congressional delegation travel expenses, without his express written approval. Departments and Agencies shall continue to provide appropriate logistical and security support for such delegations.
President Donald Trump threw a wrench in Speaker Pelosi’s travel plans Thursday when he announced — as she and her Congressional Delegation (CODEL) were already en route to the aircraft that would take them overseas — that a government plane would not be authorized for her use. (RELATED: White House Explains Why Trump Canceled Pelosi’s Trip)
Pelosi’s grounding was widely speculated to be an in-kind response to her letter suggesting that Trump should reschedule the upcoming State of the Union address until the shutdown is resolved.