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Day 13: New Congress, same old impasse over Trump’s wall

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    House Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., walk to speak with reporters after a meeting with President Donald Trump on border security at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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    House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., left, with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., speaks to the media after a meeting with President Donald Trump on border security Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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    President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, in Washington. David Bernhardt, Acting Secretary of Interior is left and Patrick Shanahan, Acting Secretary of Defense is right. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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    A closed sign is displayed on a door at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, as a partial government shutdown stretches into its third week. A high-stakes move to reopen the government will be the first big battle between Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump as Democrats come into control of the House. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

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    Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker listens to President Donald Trump speak during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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    Steamtown National Historic Site remains temporarily closed due to government shutdown in Scranton, Pa., on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. President Donald Trump said his Homeland Security officials will “make a plea” for the border wall with Mexico during a briefing for congressional leaders Wednesday at the White House as the partial government shutdown over his demand for wall funding entered its 12th day. (Jake Danna Stevens/The Times-Tribune via AP)

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    President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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    House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., left, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., speak to the media after a meeting with President Donald Trump on border security Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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    House Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., walk to speak with reporters after a meeting with President Donald Trump on border security at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Published January 03. 2019 01:02PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The partial government shutdown entered a 13th day Thursday with House Democrats prepared to pass their plan to reopen government and President Donald Trump accusing them of playing politics with an eye on the 2020 election.

Both sides appeared at an impasse over Trump’s demand for billions of dollars to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Congressional leaders will meet with Trump on Friday to try for a resolution.

The new Congress convenes Thursday with Democrats taking majority control of the House, and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, expected to be elected speaker, said they’d quickly pass legislation to re-open the government — without funds for Trump’s border wall.

“There is no amount of persuasion he can use” to get her to fund his wall, Pelosi said in an interview airing Thursday on NBC’s “Today” show. She added: “We can go through the back and forth. No. How many more times can we say no?”

Trump shot back Thursday, accusing the Democrats of playing politics.

“The Shutdown is only because of the 2020 Presidential Election,” he said on Twitter. “The Democrats know they can’t win based on all of the achievements of “Trump,” so they are going all out on the desperately needed Wall and Border Security - and Presidential Harassment. For them, strictly politics!”

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 Feb. 8 as talks would continue.

It would also include a separate measure to fund the departments of Agriculture, Interior, Housing and Urban Development and others closed by the partial shutdown. That measure would provide money through the remainder of the fiscal year, to Sept. 30.

The White House has rejected the Democratic package, and Republicans who control the Senate are hesitant to take it up without Trump on board. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it a “total nonstarter.” Trump said ahead of his White House session with the congressional leaders that the partial shutdown will last “as long as it takes” to get the funding he wants.

In public, Trump renewed his dire warnings of rapists and others at the border. But when pressed in private Wednesday by Democrats asking why he wouldn’t end the shutdown, he responded at one point, “I would look foolish if I did that.” A White House official, one of two people who described that exchange only on condition of anonymity, said the president had been trying to explain that it would be foolish not to pay for border security.

“Could be a long time or could be quickly,” Trump said during lengthy public comments at a Cabinet meeting, his first public appearance of the new year. Meanwhile, the shutdown has closed some parks and leaving hundreds of thousands of federal employees without pay.

Democrats said they asked Trump directly during Wednesday’s private meeting held in the Situation Room why he wouldn’t consider their package of bills. One measure would open most of the shuttered government departments at funding levels already agreed to by all sides. The other would provide temporary funding for Homeland Security, through Feb. 8, allowing talks to continue over border security.

“I said, Mr. President, Give me one good reason why you should continue your shutdown,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said afterward. “He could not give a good answer.”

At another point Wednesday, Trump told Pelosi that, as a “good Catholic,” she should support the wall because Vatican City has a wall, according to a congressional aide. Trump has mentioned the Vatican’s centuries-old fortifications before, including at the earlier Cabinet meeting. But Democrats have said they don’t want medieval barriers, and Pelosi has called Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border immoral.

“I remain ready and willing to work with Democrats,” Trump tweeted after the meeting. “Let’s get it done!”

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said that there’s no need to prolong the shutdown and that he was disappointed the talks did not produce a resolution. He complained that Democrats interrupted Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen as she was trying to describe a dreadful situation at the border.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said on Fox that Pelosi will be “more able to negotiate” once she is elected speaker, as expected Thursday.

The two sides have traded offers, but their talks broke down ahead of the holidays. On Wednesday, Trump also rejected his own administration’s offer to accept $2.5 billion for the wall. That proposal was made when Vice President Mike Pence and other top officials met at the start of the shutdown with Schumer, who left saying they remained far apart. On Wednesday Trump repeatedly pushed for the $5.6 billion he has demanded.

Making his case ahead of the private afternoon session, Trump said the current border is “like a sieve” and noted the tear gas “flying” overnight to deter arrivals.

“If they knew they couldn’t come through, they wouldn’t even start,” he said at the meeting, joined by Cabinet secretaries and top advisers, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

With no negotiations over the holidays, Trump complained he had been “lonely “ at the White House, having skipped his getaway to Mar-a-Lago in Florida. He claimed his only companions were the “machine gunners,” referring to security personnel, and “they don’t wave, they don’t smile.” He also criticized Pelosi for visiting Hawaii.

She responded Thursday, saying, “The president may not know this, but Hawaii is part of the United States of America.” She says she was available on 24 hours’ notice.

The partial government shutdown began on Dec. 22.

Comments
Democraps care nothing of national security.
Demoncrats, when they want something, the ends justify the means. In this case, it's national security. In this case it's Deputy Singh, who was gunned down. The hate filled Democraps take pleasure in the victims of drug abuse from the heroin coming in over the boarders, as it helps to create more victims (Democrats).
Hey dig... Are you proud of New Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who went off on Trump: ‘We’re Going to Impeach the Motherf*cker!’
Is that how you think we should be communicating? Hello? Legion, are you in there?
Hello dimwit where was your criticism when your FUHRER was cursing and saying demeaning things about people. That orange headed draft dodging piece of crap. You know he reminds me of a scab a person who cant take no for an answer. Nothing but low life the heal spur BUM. So i guess you would like to do some Goose Stepping for him. "Sieg Heil!"to your leader and through out the straight arm salute.
Dear Tamgrad,
I do no man's bidding. The subject is national security. As a patriot, I concern for the people of my country first. Before you continue in comparing Trump to Hitler, as many other have, study historical facts of the unimaginable horrors called the Holocaust. You parrot the uninformed. Hitler was a psychopath. Trump is just a smart con man, who made it to the White House.
Comparing Trump to a man who systemically slaughtered six million Jews and millions of others he also thought were sub-human, is hate speech.
Nancy Pelosi cried out against Trump calling MS13 members animals, but says nothing of this Freshman Senate Member calling our U.S. President a Motherf_ _ _ er. That is the very hate speech that liberals who are now making Hitler comparisons routinely decry.
I respectfully find your comment to be of utmost ignorance, stupidity, and disrespect for those who lost their lives fighting against the Nazi Fuhrer named Hitler. You and the rest of those who do that, make little of the Holocaust. You could be changing history by making little of it, which is far worse than recalling, and learning from it.

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