Trump vows State of Union alternative

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to block Donald Trump's State of the Union speech.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to block Donald Trump's State of the Union speech.

US President Donald Trump says he will do an alternative event to the State of the Union address after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told him he cannot deliver it in the House of Representatives until the government shutdown is over.

The clash between two of Washington's most powerful leaders represented an escalation in a stand-off that has resulted in a 33-day partial government closure that threatens the US economy and the livelihoods of 800,000 federal workers.

On Pelosi's move to lock him out of the House, Trump said at a White House meeting on border security on Wednesday, "It's a disgrace."

Pelosi told the president that for now she would not consider a measure authorising the speech, an annual, televised rite in American politics traditionally delivered in the House chamber.

"Again, I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened," Pelosi said to Trump in a letter.

Earlier in the day, Trump essentially dared her to disinvite him from making the speech, which was set for January 29.

The State of the Union speech, used by presidents to announce their policy goals for the year, has become a hostage to the showdown between Trump and congressional Democrats over his demand for money for a US-Mexico border wall.

About a quarter of the government has been shut down since December 22 when some US agencies' funding expired for reasons unrelated to border security or immigration. Trump at first expressed support for legislation to restore the agencies' funding. Then he demanded that any shutdown-ending measure must contain $US5.7 billion ($A8 billion) for the border wall, funding that Democrats oppose.

House Democrats have approved several measures to fully reopen the government, but none has won approval in the Senate, which is controlled by Trump's fellow Republicans.

Pelosi suggested on January 16 that Trump postpone the State of the Union speech because of the closure.

She cited concerns about security for the event. Earlier on Wednesday, Trump tried to brush aside Pelosi's concerns and said he planned to deliver the address before the US Congress as scheduled on January 29.

"It would be so very sad for our Country if the State of the Union were not delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!" Trump wrote to Pelosi.

Australian Associated Press