Delayed from its traditional date in January due to the longest federal shutdown in history, U.S. President Trump will deliver his second State of the Union address before Congress on Tuesday, February 5 at 9 p.m.
With the federal government temporarily open until February 15, as part of a three-week treaty over Trump’s demanded $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall with Mexico, Pennsylvania Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey will bring one of those affected by the shutdown, a TSA officer, as his special guest.
Monica Hughes, an Army reservist who has worked as a TSA officer at Pittsburgh International Airport for four years and had to work without pay for the duration of the 35-day-long shutdown, will be attending the State of the Union with Casey, his office announced.
“I’m pleased that a dedicated public servant like Monica will be able to join me for the President’s State of the Union Address,” Casey said in anouncing the invite. “I am hopeful that her attendance will inspire others in Washington to remain committed to fighting for working families who depend on a functioning government.”
Hughes, a U.S. Army Reserve veteran, lives with her partner, decorated war veteran Charles Burke, and his children, Chazzlyn, 16, and Joaquin, 5, Casey’s office said.
The family had to apply for food stamps during the shutdown “to stay afloat,” Casey said. They also drew on their personal savings and donations from friends and family during the longest federal shutdown in national history.
Casey’s office described the Hughes family being “held hostage by the President’s shutdown,” which they described as “sparked by the Administration’s recklessness.”
Phil Glover, VP of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) District 3 (the union that represents TSA employees), thanked Casey and Hughes for representing the 800,000 federal workers impacted by the shutdown. That includes “the 45,000 TSA Officers that worked for more than a month safeguarding our nation’s airports while not knowing when their next paycheck was coming,” Glover said in a statement.”
Meanwhile, Casey’s counterpart, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), is inviting his personal friend, business and community leader John Malloy, of the Lehigh Valley.
Malloy for 15 years has been Chairman, President and CEO of Victaulic, the world’s largest manufacturer of mechanical joints for piping systems, headquartered in Easton, Pa. and employing 3,600 worldwide, including at other locations in Pa. and around the globe. The company’s products are sold in 108 countries around the world.
Democratic Philly Congressman Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia) is inviting AFGE union organizer Alana Lewis, a legislative and political organizer for the union and Philly resident who worked closely with many employees impacted by the shutdown.
Trumps’ State of the Union is expected to stress bipartisanship, “cooperation and compromise,” the Daily Beast reported, quoting anonymous administration officials.