Trump and Democrats Dig In After Talks to Reopen Government Go Nowhere

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WASHINGTON — President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders dug in Wednesday for a prolonged partial shutdown in a newly divided authorities after a White Home assembly — the primary in 22 days — couldn’t break an deadlock over Mr. Trump’s calls for for billions of for a border wall.

Through the contentious assembly within the State of affairs Room, Mr. Trump made his case for a wall on the southwestern border and rejected Democrats’ proposals for reopening the federal government whereas the 2 sides ironed out their variations.

“I’d look silly if I did that,” Mr. Trump responded after Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic chief, posed the query to him immediately, based on three officers conversant in the assembly who described it on the situation of anonymity. He mentioned that the wall was why he was elected, one of many officers mentioned.

Democrats had been equally adamant, based on one other official who was current for the dialogue. Pressed by Vice President Mike Pence and Consultant Kevin McCarthy of California, the incoming minority chief, they refused to budge from their provide to dedicate $1.three billion to frame safety. The official additionally insisted on anonymity to explain the non-public dialog.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the bulk chief, mentioned after the assembly that he had no intention of placing Democratic payments to reopen the federal government to a vote if Mr. Trump wouldn’t signal them.

“We’re hopeful that, by some means, within the coming days and weeks, we’ll have the ability to attain an settlement,” Mr. McConnell informed reporters on the Capitol, providing an ominous timeline.

The occasions underscored the private and political crosscurrents standing in the way in which of any compromise between a president unwilling to lose face together with his core supporters on his signature marketing campaign promise and newly empowered Democrats — poised to imagine management of the Home on Thursday — who refuse to provide floor on a difficulty that has come to represent Mr. Trump’s immigration insurance policies.

With the partial authorities funding lapse dragging into its 12th day and affecting 800,000 federal staff, the confrontation within the State of affairs Room solely served to spotlight the depth of the divide.

“Could possibly be a very long time, or it might be rapidly,” Mr. Trump mentioned of resolving the shutdown. “It’s too vital a topic to stroll away from.”

Consultant Nancy Pelosi of California, who’s in line to be elected speaker on Thursday, mentioned: “We’re asking the president to open up authorities. Why would he not do it?”

“He couldn’t give a great reply,” Mr. Schumer mentioned.

Mr. Trump tried inventive methods to influence the Democrats that they need to help his wall. At one level, he mentioned Ms. Pelosi ought to again it as a result of she was “a great Catholic” and Vatican Metropolis is surrounded by a wall, based on one of many officers conversant in the dialogue.

In her first legislative act as speaker, Ms. Pelosi plans on Thursday to convey up two payments to reopen the federal government. One would fund the Division of Homeland Safety by means of Feb. eight, offering a month to interrupt the deadlock over border safety funding, and a second would offer cash for the remaining shuttered businesses and departments by means of September. The homeland safety measure would dedicate $1.three billion to frame safety measures, equivalent to enhanced surveillance and fortified fencing, however not the wall.

Mr. Trump’s rejection of these measures left the prospects of a decision at their dimmest because the shutdown started on Dec. 22. It additionally highlighted the problem of the present state of affairs, through which Democrats, Republicans and even some White Home workers members have discovered themselves attempting to anticipate what Mr. Trump will settle for.

The president requested the congressional leaders to return to the White Home on Friday to proceed the talks, after Democrats had accomplished their management elections, based on an official who attended the assembly. A second official who attended mentioned Mr. Trump’s group believed it will be simpler for Ms. Pelosi to barter as soon as she was formally put in as speaker. Each insisted on anonymity to explain the non-public gathering.

In a pair of night tweets, Mr. Trump appeared to carry out hope of an settlement, writing: “I stay prepared and prepared to work with Democrats to move a invoice that secures our borders, helps the brokers and officers on the bottom, and retains America Protected. Let’s get it completed!”

However the path to such a deal is murky at finest.

Earlier than he met congressional leaders on Wednesday, Mr. Trump publicly rejected a compromise that Mr. Pence floated privately with Democrats final month to stave off the federal government funding lapse, saying $2.5 billion in border safety spending was inadequate. Within the hours earlier than a midnight deadline to avert a shutdown earlier than Christmas, the vp had broached that quantity, which his group has quietly continued to push within the days after components of the federal government ran out of cash.

“No, not $2.5 billion, no — we’re asking for $5.6” billion, Mr. Trump mentioned throughout a cupboard assembly, hours earlier than the State of affairs Room briefing.

His rejection of the determine appeared to substantiate the issues of Democratic leaders who had questioned whether or not they might belief senior White Home officers to dealer any compromise that would then be rejected by a president who has usually shifted his place on the final second, particularly relating to immigration.

The bigger determine referred to the quantity Mr. Trump has demanded for the wall, which the Home endorsed in a vote final month, however which didn’t garner even majority help within the Senate, the place it will want 60 votes to prevail.

However contained in the State of affairs Room in a while Wednesday, the proposal resurfaced and Mr. Trump appeared open to it, based on one of many officers current, as Mr. Pence and Mr. McCarthy pressed Democrats to satisfy within the center. Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer mentioned $1.three billion was their highest bid.

Wednesday’s gathering within the State of affairs Room, a safe chamber within the basement of the White Home the place navy operations are tracked and different delicate discussions unfold, was a acutely aware effort by Mr. Trump and his aides to infuse a way of national-security disaster into the immigration dialogue. It was the president’s first face-to-face assembly with Democratic leaders since a combative session last month when he said he would insist that any government spending bill include money for a border wall — and would proudly own the consequences if that meant a shutdown.

But it quickly turned tense as Mr. Trump argued for his wall and called on Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary, who appeared via teleconference from the border in San Diego to stress the need for it, according to two of the officials who were at the meeting.

Mr. Schumer interjected, calling on Ms. Pelosi, who disputed Ms. Nielsen’s statistics, two of the officials said. Ms. Pelosi then laid out the legislative proposals she planned to bring up on Thursday, detailing how the spending measures had all received broad bipartisan support either in committees or on the floor in the Republican-controlled Congress.

The back and forth drew an angry response from the Department of Homeland Security.

“Democrats in the room either don’t care that there is a humanitarian crisis on the border or just prefer ignorance,” Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for the department, said in a statement on Wednesday night. “It was incredibly disheartening that they don’t want to know the facts when making policy.”

Yet hours before the meeting began, what was billed as a somber security briefing had already taken on the sharp tone of a political showdown, as Mr. Trump charged that Democrats were sacrificing border security for a partisan advantage in the 2020 elections.

“The United States needs a physical barrier,” the president said during the cabinet meeting, comparing the southern border to “a sieve” that allows criminals and drugs to enter the country and facilitates human trafficking.

“Walls work,” he added, claiming inaccurately that former President Barack Obama has one “around his compound” in Washington. (Parts of Mr. Obama’s home in the northwest section of the city are bordered by a low brick retaining wall, and others have iron or chain-link fencing.)

Mr. Trump repeated his false claims about the border wall, including that Mexico was already paying for it, as he promised during his campaign, and that much of its construction had already been completed.

Incoming lawmakers vented new concerns about the shutdown’s effect. “This morning I requested that my pay be withheld until the shutdown is over,” Representative-elect Mikie Sherrill, Democrat of New Jersey, said Wednesday on Twitter, the place she posted a letter to the chief administrative officer of the Home making her request official.

She famous that 1000’s of federal staff in her state weren’t receiving paychecks. “I got here right here to control, not interact in partisan politics on the expense of hardworking Individuals,” she mentioned.

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