Trump warns USA govt shutdown could last 'a long time'

Clay Curtis
January 2, 2019

President Donald Trump said US homeland security officials will make a plea for a southern border wall in a White House meeting with congressional leaders on Wednesday, adding that he was open to working on a path to legal status for young illegal immigrants known as Dreamers. David Bernhardt, Acting Secretary of Interior is left and Patrick Shanahan, Acting Secretary of Defense is right.

President Donald Trump insisted the USA needs some kind of physical barrier along the frontier with Mexico, just a few hours before a meeting with congressional leaders aimed at breaking a stalemate over border wall funding that's kept parts of the federal government shut down for 12 days.

"I think I would have been a good general, but who knows?" he said.

For Trump, taking a strong stand and refusing to compromise on funding for his signature border wall is a way to fulfill a key campaign promise to his supporters.

Trump remains committed to "an agreement that both reopens the government and keeps Americans safe", she said. His demand infuriated many Republicans who had been working to avoid a shutdown, but most have followed his lead and are insisting Democrats broker some sort of compromise. He promised "six more years of great success".

The partial government shutdown began on 22 December. Funding for the wall has been the sticking point in passing funding bills for several government departments.

Congressional leaders will be at the White House for a briefing on border security. The location means that the conversation will not be televised, unlike Trump's volatile sit-down with Democratic leaders last month.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the top incoming House Republicans - Kevin McCarthy of California and Steve Scalise of Louisiana - planned to attend, according to aides. The departing House speaker, Paul Ryan, is not expected.

Trump warns US govt shutdown could last 'a long time'

One day before Democrats take over control of the House of Representatives, Trump showed no signs of backing away from his insistence on US$5.6 billion for his "beautiful" southern wall. Pelosi said in October that demanding them "is one of the first things we'd do".

House Democrats plan to pass legislation aimed at quickly ending the shutdown - but without offering the $5 billion Trump wants for his wall - as soon as they assume control Thursday afternoon.

"That's all you need to know about her", Alexandra Pelosi told CNN on Wednesday when asked about her mother's approach to meetings with President Donald Trump. Kamala Harris (D) and Dianne Feinstein (D) took the time to tweet and speak out against the border wall and in favor of illegal immigrants.

But he seemed to shift tactics later in the day, appealing to Pelosi. "Let's make a deal?" he wrote.

Whether the Republican-led Senate would consider the Democratic funding bills - or if Trump would sign either into law - was unclear. McConnell has said Senate Republicans will not approve a spending measure Trump does not support. "But if you think about it, when you think about how this country is changing fundamentally, when you look at who's representing us ... it's going to be a attractive America, and I think we should all be proud of that", said the filmmaker.

Even if only symbolic, the passage of the bills in the House would put fresh pressure on the president. Traditionally, senior administration officials have used these gatherings to review their agenda for the year, though Trump is likely to steer discussion towards immigration and his fight with Democrats about the border wall, based on his comments in recent days.

It would also include another measure to fund the departments of Agriculture, Interior, Housing and Urban Development and others closed by the partial shutdown. Major agencies like the Pentagon and the Health and Human Services Department have already been funded through the end of the fiscal year September 30, thanks to spending bills passed by Congress earlier in the year and signed by Trump.

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