No deal to end shutdown; Trump says 'could be a long time'

Adjust Comment Print

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi made their first visit to the White House since their December 11 meeting with Trump, when he said he would be "proud" to take responsibility for a government shutdown in his effort to force Congress to spend billions of dollars on a wall along the southern border.

Trump is now insisting that Congress appropriate $5.7 billion for that project, while Democrats want a short-term spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security and full-year funding for the other affected agencies while funding for the wall is negotiated separately.

Trump invited lawmakers to return to the White House on Friday, after their leadership races, to continue discussing a path to reopening the government, according to incoming House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. NBC's Savannah Guthrie asked Pelosi in an interview slated to air in full Thursday.

Trump has demanded at least $5 billion in funding directed at creating the first stages of a new wall between the USA and Mexico that he repeatedly promised to voters during his campaign and over the first two years of his presidency, and which he said before his election that he would force Mexico to pay for. They can not easily claim that their own bill they just voted for in the Senate is soft on border security.


"It could be a long time", Trump told reporters during a cabinet meeting, "or it could be quickly". "Nothing for the wall". Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to assume the speakership of the House of Representatives on Thursday, said after the briefing with the president. "Once the secretary [of Homeland Security] started, Senator [Chuck] Schumer interrupted her, and they really didn't want to hear it".

During a midday Cabinet meeting, Trump refused to say whether he would sign a measure to open the government if he received less than his $5 billion in requested wall funding.

All sides are now locked in a political stalemate, as Republicans control the Senate and the White House while Democrats have seized the House.

The Democratic-led House plans to vote on a bipartisan package of six Senate spending bills and a stopgap measure to re-open the Department of Homeland Security at its current funding levels until February 8, the aide said.


Trump then critiqued the idea that drone surveillance could substitute a wall. Outside economists and trade experts, however, said the revisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump has rebranded the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, will not bring in to the U.S. Treasury anywhere near what is necessary to pay for a wall.

The White House is calling the Democratic plan a "non-starter", saying it fails to secure the border and puts the needs of other countries above the needs of its own citizens. Since becoming president, though, he has shifted this promise, saying the money must come from US taxpayers. Finally, Trump wrapped up by faulting Democrats for the shutdown. "He could not give a good answer", Schumer said. "This isn't just a border, this is national security, this is health and wellness, this is everything", Mr. Trump said.

"We asked him to give us one good reason - I asked him directly", Schumer said. That measure would provide money through the remainder of the fiscal year, to September 30.

The President and Democrats are at odds over funding for a border wall.


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.

Comments