Published: Wed, January 16, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

House Democrats Reject White House Invitation to Shutdown Talks

House Democrats Reject White House Invitation to Shutdown Talks

House Democrats have passed other spending bills this month that would reopen the government, but have refused to give money to Trump for construction of a wall at the U.S. -Mexico border.

The Senate and House were both due to be on recess next week with members going back to their home districts, but leaders in both chambers have said that break will be canceled if the shutdown is still in effect.

Rep. Nita Lowey of NY, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, said the bills offer "additional options" to end the shutdown and would give lawmakers time for negotiations on border security and immigration. And the president says people are impressed at how well the government is working.

Sanders stressed that it is time for Democrats to come to the table and make a deal.

The nine Republican congressmen will still dine with President Trump, however, and two of them - Rodney Davis of IL and John Katko of NY - voted for Democratic proposals to reopen government agencies affected by the shutdown.

The White House has been considering reaching out to rank-and-file Democrats rather than dealing with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to try and chip away at Democratic opposition.

The partial shutdown is the longest in United States history and its effects have begun to reverberate across the country. A White House official said plans were in the works to call freshman representatives, especially those who initially did not support Pelosi's bid for the speakership.

House Democratic leaders said they did not tell members to boycott Trump's lunch but had pressed those invited to consider whether the talks would be productive or be a photo-op for Trump.

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The White House later named five Democrats who received invitations: Reps.

But hopes of side deals being cut by the White House seemed unlikely, as did the prospect of groups of senators meeting privately to forge a compromise. Many inside and outside the White House hold that it may be the best option to end the budget standoff, reopening the government while allowing Trump to tell his base supporters he didn't cave on the wall.

Pelosi predicted that after meeting with Trump the lawmakers will want to make a "citizen's arrest", according to the aide, who wasn't authorized to publicly discuss the meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity. Democrats, he argued, were partying on a beach rather than negotiating - though Pelosi and Schumer were not on the trip.

The rebuff Tuesday showed the limits of the White House's new strategy of trying to bypass Democratic leaders to peel off Democratic support for Trump's position. Meanwhile, the Trump administration said Tuesday it has called tens of thousands of federal employees back to work without pay to process tax refunds, maintain flight safety, inspect food and drug supplies and other vital tasks to soften the impact of the shutdown.

One, Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., "welcomes the opportunity to talk with the President about border security", his spokesman said, "as soon as the government is reopened". Fifty-three percent in a January 8 to 11 ABC News-Washington Post poll found Trump and Republicans are largely responsible for the shutdown.

Trump last week in a televised address to the country from the Oval Office said that illegal immigration had created a national "crisis" as he made his case to the public for his insistence on $5.7 billion for a border wall. "I'd like to see us have a breakthrough here".

The House has rejected a Democratic-sponsored bill to reopen the federal government though February 1.

Tuesday brought another day of high theatrics, but low substance, as the shutdown dragged into its fourth week.

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