Donald Trump and top congressional leaders failed to resolve a partial government shutdown that has stretched well into a second week as the president refused to back off from his demands for billions of dollars for a long-promised wall along the southern United States border with Mexico.
"We're asking the president to open up government", Democrat Nancy Pelosi, the presumptive House speaker, told reporters outside the White House after top lawmakers met with Trump and his homeland security officials.
The Democratic package to end the shutdown would temporarily fund the Department of Homeland Security at current levels - with $1.3 billion for border security, far less than Trump has said he wants for a wall on America's border with Mexico. NBC's Savannah Guthrie asked Pelosi in an interview slated to air in full Thursday. They have said their bills will not including funding for the border wall. Pence suggested $2.5 billion that would cover general border security and some new fencing, but nothing for Trump's stated vision of a wall.
Asked about Romney's comments, Trump expressed surprise on Wednesday and said he hoped the Republican senator would prove to be a "team player".
But Trump told Congressional leaders he will not sign the measure, said incoming House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. "Nothing for the wall".
Pelosi, who is expected to return to the House speakership Thursday afternoon after eight years as minority leader, intends as her first action to pass spending bills that won Republican support last year to reopen the closed agencies.
The shutdown began after Trump rejected bipartisan congressional efforts to fund many operations through February 8, insisting that any deal must contain money for the construction of a border wall. The Senate passed that bill unanimously and then Trump refused to sign it, at which point the House declined to bring it up for a vote.
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Trump drawing such a stark red line in the sand rendered the White House's previously scheduled first meeting to seek a solution to the impasse with the new Congressional leadership useless.
"It's too important a subject to walk away from", the president said, adding that he was prepared to hold out "as long as it takes" to secure the money he is seeking from Congress. Funding for Trump's pet project, a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border, has been the sticking point in passing budgets. More important, what extra money does come in will be from tariffs, which are paid by people in the USA, not Mexico.
When asked how long Trump is prepared to shut the government down for the president said, "As long as it takes". 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. "And I think at the end of the day, the president, listening to him, he wants to solve this as well", McCarthy said.
Schumer said Trump could not provide a "good answer" for opposing the bills.
Pence proposed a compromise nearly two weeks ago in a closed-door meeting with Democrats just hours before a shutdown of parts of government that lacked appropriations for the current fiscal year. That measure would provide money through the remainder of the fiscal year, to September 30.
Democrats have signaled a willingness to approve $1.3 billion in funds for border security in an extension of existing spending levels, a portion of which can be used to replace and fix existing sections of wall and fencing.