‘Could be a while’: Trump refuses to budge in shutdown standoff
03 January, 2019, 10:08
"We are in a shutdown because Democrats refuse to fund border security", Trump said, referring to the Senate minority filibustering a proposal passed in the House last month that would have given $5.6 billion in funding to building the wall as part of a border security package.
Led by Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi, Democrats will pounce on Day 1, moving legislation to end a partial government shutdown, and a separate measure to protect insurance coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Democrats take charge of the House of Representatives from Mr Trump's fellow Republicans when the new 2019-2020 Congress convenes this week.
"If they knew they couldn't come through, they wouldn't even start", Trump said at a meeting joined by Cabinet secretaries and top advisers, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
President Donald Trump says his homeland security officials will make a plea to congressional leaders for a border wall. The US president has already rejected a deal from the Democrats that included some $1.6 billion for border security.
Senior officials from the Department of Homeland Security will lead Wednesday's meeting amid calls from Pres. Trump for Democrats to make a deal to fund the government and the border wall. That explains Trump's sudden reversal late previous year when he refused to back a bipartisan spending package that Congress had passed with the expectation he would sign it. Schumer said the other day that the government could be reopened but only if border wall funding was abandoned.
The Democratic package to end the shutdown would include one bill to 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 the wall - through February 8 as talks continued. Democrats believe pressure will mount on Republicans as the shutdown drags on, the aide said.
Trump remains committed to "an agreement that both reopens the government and keeps Americans safe", she said. But with the 115th Congress coming to a close, Trump has squandered his last, best opportunity to secure anything in the eventual deal that will resemble the border security package he wants.
But in the past, they supported multiple bills that proposed border barriers similar to what Trump has described as acceptable.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, though, said he will not take up legislation that Trump has not endorsed, which means the shutdown will continue.
Pence proposed a compromise nearly two weeks ago in a closed-door meeting with Democrats just hours before a shutdown of parts of government that lacked appropriations for the current fiscal year.
He wrote that Mexico would be paying for the wall along the US border under the parameters of a trade deal he has tentatively inked with Mexico and Canada.
"Government shutdowns should be as off-limits to budget negotiations as chemical weapons are to warfare", Alexander wrote.
Despite numerous requests over several weeks, the White House has not provided any economic analysis to back up Trump's claims.
Democrats' plan, which they have promised will be the first order of policy business after the House convenes Thursday, would extend a full year's funding to eight departments that ran out of money on December 22. Major agencies like the Pentagon and the Health and Human Services Department have already been funded through the end of the fiscal year September 30, thanks to spending bills passed by Congress earlier in the year and signed by Trump.
The agencies that are unfunded and in shutdown mode include the Homeland Security Department that pays for the wall, as well as the Agriculture, Justice, Interior, Transportation, State and Housing departments.
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