‘Could be a while’: Trump refuses to budge in shutdown standoff

03 January, 2019, 10:09 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • ‘Could be a while’: Trump refuses to budge in shutdown standoff

The visit by Pelosi and Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer was their first to the White House since their sharp exchange with Trump in the Oval Office on Dec 11 during which the president told them he would be "proud to shut down the government for border security". But when pressed in private by Democrats asking why he wouldn't end the shutdown, he responded at one point, "I would look foolish if I did that". Meanwhile the White House is saying the shutdown could continue for weeks unless Democrats make an offer closer to the $5.6 billion Trump is seeking.

All that to say, I don't think Democrats are going to get the clean win they are hoping for out of this shutdown.

The Democratic package to end the shutdown would temporarily fund the Department of Homeland Security at current levels - with $1.3 billion for border security, far less than Trump has said he wants for a wall on America's border with Mexico.

Trump is refusing to water down his demand for $5 billion in funding for his border wall in return for agreeing on a federal funding package and appears to think he's winning the showdown.

"We were hopeful that we could get more of a negotiation", said McCarthy.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has made clear he will not move forward on any legislation until President Donald Trump signs off on it. Trump, for his part, hasn't wavered on his position that the fight is something he'd promised during the campaign - and one he was telling advisers and friends he was willing to continue.

The House passed a version of an appropriations bill before the partial shutdown with $5.6 billion for wall construction and that included funding for a variety of agencies and departments, including Homeland Security, NASA, and the IRS.

Trump's comments came at what was billed as the first Cabinet meeting of 2019.

The former Navy SEAL said because of his experience, he doesn't understand why Democrats say a wall doesn't work or it's medieval thinking.

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House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said that there's no need to prolong the shutdown and that he was disappointed the talks did not produce a resolution.

"The Pelosi plan is a non-starter because it does not fund our homeland security or keep American families safe from human trafficking, drugs, and crime", Sanders said in a statement late on Tuesday. It is being held in the White House's secure "Situation Room", and the media will not be invited for any portion of it, according to guidance sent from the White House. "He could not give a good answer", Schumer said.

Democrats have signaled a willingness to approve $1.3 billion in funds for border security in an extension of existing spending levels, a portion of which can be used to replace and fix existing sections of wall and fencing. NBC's Savannah Guthrie asked Pelosi in an interview slated to air in full Thursday.

As a result, on December 22, about one-quarter of the government ran out of money.

Pelosi said the Democratic-majority House plans to pass a funding bill without wall funding, and Trump insists that he will not sign a bill that doesn't pay for the wall. That measure would provide money through the remainder of the fiscal year, to September 30. But they have drawn the line at the use of any taxpayer money for the erection of a new wall.

It would also include a separate measure to fund the departments of Agriculture, Interior, Housing and Urban Development and others closed by the partial shutdown.

A total of 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed or working without pay since December 21, and won't receive their next paychecks until the government reopens. That's partly because most of the federal government is immune.

The shutdown has gone on for 12 days.

This article was written by _, a reporter for The Washington Post.

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