Tuesday, 20 August, 2019

Shutdown Day 12: Lawmakers to hear wall plea at White House

Donald Trump is standing firm on his demand for billions of dollars for the wall Donald Trump is standing firm on his demand for billions of dollars for the wall
Patty Aguilar | 02 January, 2019, 23:08

The government has been partially shut down for almost two weeks, and President Donald Trump's competing desires to hold his ground for more border security funding and shift blame for the impasse onto Democrats have made it even harder to reach a deal to reopen it.

The president made his case anew ahead of the afternoon session with Democratic and Republican leaders about the migrants arriving at the border in recent days.

"And how do you feel - given that this person whom you said will cut off your neck and you wouldn't even know you're bleeding - will be the speaker of the House for a second time tomorrow?"

The standoff resulted in swathes of the federal government being shut down over the Christmas and New Year holidays - and for the foreseeable future until a deal is reached.

Trump said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and border patrol officials will make a plea for a wall at the meeting.

The president "wants an agreement that reopens the government AND keeps Americans safe", the White House said on Twitter. A month of fighting in Afghanistan costs more than the entire wall funding, he added. It's the first sign of a possible opening for negotiations since the partial shutdown began December 22. Funding for the wall has been the sticking point in passing funding bills for several government departments. The meeting is taking place one day before Democrats retake control of the House at noon on Thursday, heralding a massive power shift in Washington after two years of unified Republican control. "Whether you hate the president or love the president, border security goes hand in hand with national security, the safety of our communities and public safety".

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and the top incoming House Republicans - Kevin McCarthy of California and Steve Scalise of Louisiana - plan to attend, according to aides. The departing House speaker, Paul Ryan, was not expected. Pelosi said in October that demanding them "is one of the first things we'd do".

Trump warns US govt shutdown could last 'a long time'

"We are giving the Republicans the opportunity to take yes for an answer", she wrote in a letter to colleagues. Much of the Wall has already been fully renovated or built.

Congress will feature the largest number of progressive lawmakers in many years, and they appear to be in no mood to appease a president who is standing firm on his pursuit of funding for a wall on the southern border with Mexico. They planned to pass them as soon as the new Congress convenes Thursday.

Department of Homeland Security officials will brief the congressional leaders, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said, on the last day that Trump's fellow Republicans will control both chambers of Congress.

Trump spent the weekend saying Democrats should return to Washington to negotiate, firing off Twitter taunts.

Democrats have noted Trump repeatedly promised during his campaign and earlier in his presidency that Mexico would pay for the wall, not USA taxpayers.

The invitation was sent Tuesday after Democrats unveiled two bills to reopen the government which did not include money for a border wall.

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