Democrats announce plan to end shutdown, punt border battle into February

Saul Bowman
January 2, 2019

The House will vote on Thursday on a package that funds the Department of Homeland Security at current levels, kicks in $1.3 billion for border security, but does not allocate money for Trump's wall.

A congressional aide said the invitation was extended to the eight top leaders from both parties in the new House and Senate, Bloomberg reports. On the night Trump refused to sign a spending measure without funds for a wall, triggering the shutdown, he posted a video calling for a "wall or a slat fence or whatever you want to call it".

The deadlock has resulted in what is already the longest partial government shutdown since a 16-day standoff in 2013 over the Affordable Care Act. "A $1.3 billion Democrat wish list that includes zero money for a border barrier is a non-starter and will not be a legitimate answer to this impasse".

The president has not said he would veto the Democratic legislation, if the bills were to land on his desk.

As the calendar turned to the new year, Trump said, in an all-caps tweet, that Americans would have a good year, if they weren't obsessed with opposing him. An earlier spending bill also included a continuing resolution that extended the original deadline on September 30.

They also included a short-term patch extending current funding through February 8 for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the border, in the legislation unveiled Monday evening.

"It would be the height of irresponsibility and political cynicism for Senate Republicans to now reject the same legislation they have already supported", they said in a statement.

President Donald Trump says he's ready to negotiate with Democrats to end the partial government shutdown, which is now entering its eleventh day.

"We are giving the Republicans the opportunity to take yes for an answer", Pelosi, who is expected to be the House speaker, said in a letter to colleagues released by her office on Tuesday. But the text has no chance of passing the Senate, where a budgetary law requires 60 votes.

Trump has dug in and so has the Opposition, this week is going to be a big one in Washington DC and Democrats are in no hurry to tell Trump how they'll play their cards in payback season.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the specifics of the briefing.

In a Los Angeles Times interview published on Sunday, Kelly said: "To be honest, it's not a wall".

"The president still says "wall" - oftentimes frankly he'll say "barrier" or 'fencing, ' now he's tended towards steel slats". "Some areas will be all concrete but the experts at Border Patrol prefer a Wall that is see through (thereby making it possible to see what is happening on both sides). Makes sense to me!"

News of the meeting comes just as Trump used Twitter to urge House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the likely next House Speaker, to consider a "deal" on border security to end the government shutdown. "I can go on with all the other problems, but we need border security".

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told Vice President Mike Pence that it wasn't acceptable, nor was it guaranteed that Mr Trump, under intense pressure from his conservative base to fulfill his signature campaign promise, would settle for that amount.

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