Trump presses Democrats on border wall funding ahead of Senate meeting

Hugh Fox
December 28, 2018

Large sections of the almost 2,000-mile (3,200 kilometer) border with Mexico are already divided by fences and other barriers.

Republicans and Democrats reached an agreement last week on a stopgap spending measure to prevent a shutdown - a deal that the White House signaled Trump would sign. If the shutdown continues into 2019, she has vowed that her new Democratic majority will act quickly to pass legislation reopening the government.

Trump blamed Pelosi of California for prolonging the shutdown.

In a joint statement, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY and presumed incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said, "The president wanted the shutdown, but seems not to know how to get himself out of it".

"We want. the government open and my hope is we can get it opened before January 3", said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the incoming Rules Committee chairman, via Politico. "I can tell you it's not going to be open until we have a wall or fence, whatever they'd like to call it", Mr Trump said, referring to Democrats who staunchly oppose walling off the Mexican border.

Schumer on Saturday said Trump must abandon the wall, plain and simple for the government to reopen.

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"It's a disgrace, what's happening in our country", Trump said.

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Trump has made securing the southern border a focal point of his presidency, with plans to beef up border security and create a wall as key components.

- Even with most lawmakers out of town, some discussions were taking place, according to congressional aides. I've been at the White House.

Following weeks of failed talks between Trump and congressional leaders, parts of the USA government shut down on Saturday, affecting about 800,000 employees of the Departments of Homeland Security, Transportation and other agencies. I love the White House, but I wasn't able to be with my family.

Schlapp said the chances that Republicans would put up enough votes to override a presidential veto "are pretty much nil". The agency is already understaffed, Dollard said.

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While the White House was talking to congressional Democrats - and staff talks continued on Capitol Hill - negotiations dragged Wednesday, dimming hopes for a swift breakthrough.

The Senate is scheduled to convene at 4:00 p.m. and no votes have been planned, as the president and Democrats remain far apart on the border wall funding.

Among those affected by the shutdown - the third of 2018 - are the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice.

A weekend and the Christmas holiday have eased some of the pain, but perhaps a bigger factor is that Congress did manage to fund the Defense, Health, Labor, Education and Veterans Affairs departments in September, accounting for some 75 percent of annual discretionary spending.

Hundreds of thousands of federal employees will have to work unpaid or are furloughed, a kind of temporary leave.

Mulvaney said Sunday that the ongoing partial government shutdown would likely extend into the new year.

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