Published: Thu, January 03, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Democrats ‘Didn’t Want to Hear’ Border Security Briefing, Says Rep. McCarthy

Democrats ‘Didn’t Want to Hear’ Border Security Briefing, Says Rep. McCarthy

Democratic leaders emerged from a White House meeting Wednesday to say they are willing to talk border security but not until after Congress ends the partial government shutdown, signaling that more than a week away from Washington has only deepened the impasse. A spokesman for GOP leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans would not take action without Trump's backing.

Lending it an air of drama, Wednesday's briefing for congressional leaders is to take place in the White House Situation Room which is normally used for military updates.

McCarthy said Trump wanted to have the next meeting on Friday, after leadership elections in Congress, and Trump has suggested Pelosi is opposing money for the border wall because she is anxious about losing support from liberals.

The last real shutdown, which occurred in January of previous year, came to a quiet end after only three days, when Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer frittered away what little power he had during the still-unresolved debate over the future of DACA recipients.

President Trump is holding two major meetings as the partial government shutdown continues. At the start of his cabinet meeting, Trump said the border was "like a sieve" and insisted the U.S. needed a "physical barrier" to deter illegal border crossers.

Trump said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and border patrol officials will make a plea for a wall at the meeting. He called the border "very tough" at keeping immigrants out.

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 February 8 as talks would continue.

Earlier, in a Twitter post, Trump made two other false claims about the wall. "Democrats intend to do that today", Justin Goodman, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Wednesday morning.

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. Democrats believe pressure will mount on Republicans as the shutdown drags on, the aide said.

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The shutdown, which began 22 December could last a "long time", Mr Trump said. By a 21-point margin - 57 percent to 36 percent - Americans think the president should compromise on the wall to avoid a government shutdown, rather than stand firm.

"The Senate will not waste its time considering a Democratic bill which can not pass this chamber and which the president can not sign".

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

Democrats' plan, which they have promised will be the first order of policy business after the House convenes Thursday, would extend a full year's funding to eight departments that ran out of money on December 22.

But on Tuesday, Trump was openly asking if Democrats were willing to negotiate. "Senate Republicans have already supported this legislation, and if they reject it now, they will be fully complicit in chaos and destruction of the President's third shutdown of his term".

"Government shutdowns should be as off-limits to budget negotiations as chemical weapons are to warfare", Alexander wrote.

Pelosi was nearly certain to win Thursday's House vote for speaker, a position she held for four years from 2007, when she made history as the first woman ever to rise to that post.

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 September 30.

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