Federal government shutdown enters second week with no resolution in sight

Geraldine Edwards
January 1, 2019

Democrats refuse to give him the money. Trump has rejected both counter offers.

Democratic House sources Monday said their plan was to "isolate" the problem and "hopefully" open the majority of the government, while punting the larger conversation on immigration and border security.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"To my Democratic friends, there will never be a deal without wall funding", Graham said Sunday on CNN.

"An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED", Trump tweeted Monday.

There has been little direct contact between the sides during the stalemate, and Mr Trump did not ask Republicans, who hold a monopoly on power in Washington until January 3, to keep Congress in session.

Democrats expect their two-pronged funding approach could put Trump and his Republican allies in a tough position.

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Trump said in a Twitter post that border security can not exist "without a strong and powerful Wall".

But on Sunday White House counselor Kellyanne Conway called discussion of the apparent contradiction "a silly semantic argument". Republicans and Democrats believed they had reached a deal to fund the government through most of 2019, but plans were scuttled when President Trump prevailed on Republicans in the House to insist on a provision that would provide $5 billion in funding for a border wall with Mexico.

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. The Senate on December 21 failed to muster the votes needed to pass Republican-backed House legislation that included Trump's wall funding.

"Nancy Pelosi needs to come back from Hawaii".

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, poised to become House speaker, and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, said senators have already voted for a February 8 funding bill during votes two weeks ago.

The U.S. federal government entered a partial shutdown 10 days ago, after Congress failed to agree to a budget containing funding for the barrier demanded by the White House.

It's unclear what fate will await the Democrats' measure in the Republican-controlled Senate.

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The president has been demanding $5 billion in funding allocated for the construction of a "wall".

Pointing to Trump's pledge to build a massive wall along the USA border with Mexico - a central campaign promise - Kelly said, "To be honest, it's not a wall", meaning that Trump no longer is calling for a huge concrete structure spanning thousands of miles. Under the terms Graham sketched out Sunday, young undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S.as children, as well as those fleeing disaster- and war-torn countries who hold indefinite visas, could be temporarily protected from deportation in return for wall funding.

But he has not been directly in touch with Democratic leaders offering to negotiate, he has simply posted criticism via Twitter and, now, a late year interview, which is unlikely to shift the status quo.

Conway, speaking on Fox, said the onus was on Democrats to reopen negotiations and called on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. - who is set to be elected speaker Thursday - to "come back from Hawaii" where she had vacationed last week with her family. In 2017, explaining why he voted "no" on the GOP's controversial tax bill, Jones said that "the biggest threat to our national security is America's rising debt".

Speaking of the wall, Gen. Kelly said that after consultation with border patrol agents it became clear that a continuous, opaque structure would not be suitable for stemming the flow of illegal immigrants.

That appeared to be a reference to a tweet of his over the weekend in which Trump blamed Democrats for the deaths of two migrant children while in custody of the Department of Homeland Security.

"It's incredible how Democrats can all use their ridiculous sound bite and say that a Wall doesn't work", Trump said.

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