March 26, 2019

Shutdown Day 12: Lawmakers hear wall plea at WH

03 January 2019, 10:11 | Silvia Roy

Shutdown Day 12: Lawmakers hear wall plea at WH

Shutdown Day 12: Lawmakers hear wall plea at WH

President Donald Trump invited Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress to the White House on Wednesday for a border security briefing on the 12th day of a partial federal government shutdown triggered by the Republican president's demand for $5 billion in border wall funding.

Democrats have signaled a willingness to approve $1.3 billion in funds for border security in an extension of existing spending levels, a portion of which can be used to replace and fix existing sections of wall and fencing. The House is expected to pass that plan shortly after Democrats take control of the lower chamber when the new Congress is gaveled in on Thursday.

Schumer urged the Republican leadership to reconsider their approach and approve the bills that are bipartisan and will open up the government.

The last time Schumer and Pelosi met Trump at the White House, on December 11, it turned into a freakish televised squabble during which Trump claimed he would be "proud" to shut down the government over the wall, and insisted he would take ownership of any shutdown. "Some people think it'll be controversial and tough and it probably will, but we're going to get it done", Trump said.

"I don't think any particular progress was made today, but we talked all aspects of it and it was a civil discussion", McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said on the Senate floor after the meeting.

He was speaking a day before Democrats take over control of the House of Representatives and showed no signs of backing down over the $5.6bn he wants for the "beautiful" border wall with Mexico.

A migrant climbs the border fence before jumping into the San Diego, Calif., from Tijuana, Mexico, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018.

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The Cabinet meeting came ahead of a border security briefing at the White House for Democratic and Republican congressional leaders by US Department of Homeland Security officials.

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

Meadows, who speaks frequently with the President by phone, called the proposal "a nonstarter" and said it "will not be a legitimate answer to this impasse".

Before the briefing, Trump told reporters that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and border patrol officials would make a plea for a border wall at the meeting, a part of his efforts to convince Democrats to give him funding for the long-promised project.

"We were hopeful that we could get more of a negotiation", said McCarthy.

Trump's statement on crossings contradicts the Department of Homeland Security.

Trump also rejected his own administration's offer to accept $2.5 billion for the wall.

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Democrats prepared for the White House gathering by saying they had no plans to be lectured with inaccurate information and would continue to challenge the President.

"Let's make a deal?" he tweeted.

The partial government shutdown began on December 22. But Republican leaders in the House refused to hold a vote on the measure.

The partial government shutdown began on December 22 after Trump refused to sign a budget deal that didn't include billions of dollars for his long-promised and long-stalled southern border wall.

"It would be the height of irresponsibility and political cynicism for Senate Republicans to now reject the same legislation they have already supported", the Democratic leaders said. Democrats oppose the wall and Mr Trump's funding demand.

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 was 30 years ago", she said.

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