A partial government shutdown showed no signs of ending Wednesday as congressional leaders left what appeared to be an unproductive meeting with President Trump.
Before and after the meeting, there was little talk of compromise as Trump and Democrats battled over his demand for border-wall funding, all but assuring the shutdown will barrel into a third week.
Trump invited congressional leaders back to the White House for another round of talks on Friday, the day after Democrats assume the House majority, according to House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) But it remains unclear how they will resolve the funding impasse.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said she planned to move ahead with a plan to vote Thursday on a spending bill without funding for a border wall, upon formally taking control of the House from Trump’s fellow Republicans.
“We are asking the president to open up the government,” Pelosi said outside the White House following the meeting. “We are giving him a Republican path to do that. Why would he not do it?”
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he asked Trump directly to give him “one good reason” why he would not accept Pelosi’s offer to reopen the government while border talks continued and claimed the president could not come up with one.
“I would look foolish if I did that,” Trump responded, according to a source familiar with what happened in the room.
The shutdown began on Dec. 22 after Democrats refused to agree to Trump’s demand for more than $5 billion in funding for a wall on the Mexican border, one of his biggest unfulfilled campaign promises.
Trump last month supported a funding bill without wall money, but abandoned his stance amid a barrage of criticism from pro-Trump pundits on cable news.
The White House and congressional Republicans have said the plan proposed by House Democrats for reopening the government is a non-starter.
It would fund most of the closed parts of the government through the end of the fiscal year, while only funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through Feb. 8 to buy more time to negotiate over border security.
DHS is in charge of patrolling the border and legal ports of entry.
“I don’t think any particular progress was made today,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who reiterated he would not put the House Democrats’ bill on the floor for a vote because Trump will not sign it.
“We’re hopeful that somehow in the coming days and weeks we’ll be able to reach an agreement,” he added, suggesting the shutdown could be quite lengthy.
Ahead of the meeting, Trump said he would not hesitate to keep government agencies shuttered “as long as it takes” to secure wall funding.
“It could be a long time, and it could be quickly,” Trump said in heated remarks that lasted 95 minutes during a Cabinet meeting. “It’s too important a subject to walk away from.”
The contentious meeting showed both sides are digging in even as the shutdown entered its 12th day.
Pelosi stressed that her plan closely mirrored the spending bill that the Republican-controlled Senate passed last month before Trump reneged and demanded border wall funding.
But GOP leaders said Trump was unwilling to back down.
“The problem with what Nancy Pelosi is talking about bringing up [is it] doesn’t change the status quo. It doesn’t add a dime to border security,” House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (La.) told reporters in the Capitol. “If they are not playing political games, they need to put a credible offer on the table that the president can sign.”
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Source: Fox News