For Trump, Pelosi shutdown becomes first battle of new era

01 January, 2019, 00:29 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Conway Border wall debate ‘a foolish semantic argument

Richard Shelby, who chairs the Appropriations Committee that is responsible for the funding, said on CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday.

He pushed House Republicans to vote on the matter before they lost control of the lower chamber.

As president, however, Trump has sought USA taxpayer funding, but Congress has balked, leading to the ongoing shutdown of a quarter of US government operations, furloughing 800,000 government workers and forcing another 420,000 to work without pay.

Democrats have faulted Trump and the GOP since a December 11 Oval Office meeting with Democratic leaders in which Trump declared that he would be "proud" to partially shutter the federal government over his border wall demands.

Trump later relayed that he was in the Oval Office, adding: "Democrats, come back from vacation now and give us the votes necessary for Border Security, including the Wall".

The House is preparing to vote on the package Thursday when the new Congress convenes.

Lawmakers involved in the talks and analysts already since the Trump-Pelosi immigration brawl could keep the Agriculture, Homeland Security, Justice, Interior departments and some smaller federal entities closed indefinitely. Disaster aid for hurricanes and wildfires would be handled separately, one of the aides said. The GOP-controlled Senate will not be advancing a bill on the issue that does not have President Trump's backing. There might be a way to slice and dice this, and have some border security measures in there. But...

This week, Trump claimed without evidence that most workers affected by the shutdown "are Democrats".

"He wants to make a deal on border security".

In Mexico, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador sidestepped Trump's threat, telling journalists: "We don't want to be imprudent and we don't think we should get into this". The money could have been used only to build existing designs such as steel bollard fencing, and the barriers couldn't be built in the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in Texas along the banks of the Rio Grande. The so-called "Continuing Resolution" funding bill would keep the lights on at DHS only until February 8, 2019, and continue current funding of $1.3 billion for border security.

As long as the debate holds up approval of a wider spending bill, about 800,000 federal employees are not getting salaries and non-essential parts of the government are unable to function.


White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway told Fox News broadcaster on Sunday that Trump was waiting for Democrats to reach out to him. Limits on the $400 million could direct the money to mutually agreeable uses.

Mr Kelly will leave the White House on Wednesday after 17 months.

McConnell, prior to the shutdown, offered Democrats a deal allocating $1.6 billion for border barriers plus $1 billion for a flexible fund.

Jones noted that the national debt "is almost $22 trillion", and that next year "the annual deficit is projected to top $1 trillion".

In response, Trump tweeted, "An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED, as has been reported by the media".

"If you want to stop illegal immigration, stop USA demand for drugs, and expand economic opportunity in Central America".

"Democrats have a chance here to work with me and others, including the president, to bring legal status to people who have very uncertain lives", Graham said.

Mulvaney added of the shutdown: "We do expect this to go on for a while". Democrats are in no mood to give in, making a capitulation to Trump the least likely scenario.

If the President continues to insist on $5 billion for the wall, the House Democrats' plan would fall into that category.

Instead, he said the deaths were the fault of Democrats' immigration policies and tied the tragic incident with the need to fund a border wall.

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