Congressional-White House Talks Underway to End Government Shutdown

U.S. congressional staff members and White House officials are negotiating Saturday in Washington in an effort to end a partial government shutdown that has entered its 15th day.

An impasse over President Donald Trump’s demand for funding for his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border has led to the shutdown, which Trump said Democrats could quickly bring to an end.

“The Democrats could solve the Shutdown problem in a very short period of time,” Trump wrote in one of a flurry of Saturday morning tweets about the shutdown. “All they have to do is approve REAL Border Security (including a Wall), something which everyone, other than drug dealers, human traffickers and criminals, want very badly!”

Democrats have said flat out that there will be no funding in any deal to end the shutdown for the wall.

Trump said Friday he is willing to drag out negotiations “for months or even years” until he gets the $5.6 billion he says is needed to start building the wall.

He also threatened Friday to bypass Congress and declare a national emergency in order to get the wall built.   

Without evidence, Trump said the 800,000 federal workers affected by the shutdown want him to “keep going” for border security. 

When asked Friday about how unpaid workers are expected to manage without a financial safety net, the president replied: “The safety net is going to be having a strong border because we’re going to be safe.”

On Saturday, Trump tweeted, again without evidence, “I don’t care that most of the workers not getting paid are Democrats.”

Trump said Friday he had a “very productive” meeting with congressional leaders that failed to resolve the shutdown.

But Democratic congressional leaders characterized the White House meeting differently.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who assumed leadership of the newly sworn in House Democratic majority Thursday, called the almost two-hour-long meeting “contentious.” She continued her oft-repeated assertion that agreement on the wall’s funding “cannot be resolved until we open up the government.”

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told reporters the president threatened to keep the government closed for “a very long period of time . . .”   

Despite comments from the Democratic lawmakers that little progress was made, Trump said, “we’re on the same path” to reopen the government. He touted the benefits of “a solid steel or concrete structure” along the border.

The House passed a bill Thursday to reopen shuttered federal government agencies. The measure did not, however, include the $5.6 billion the president has demanded.


The Senate passed an identical bill last month, while Republicans still controlled both chambers of Congress. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to bring the House-approved measure to a vote, citing Trump’s threat of a veto.


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