President Donald Trump has invited congressional leaders to the White House for a briefing on border security, the first face-to-face session involving Republicans and Democrats as the partial government shutdown entered its second week.
The briefing will occur one day before Democrats take control of the House and Trump gets his first taste of divided government. It was unclear whether the Wednesday session would break the budget impasse – now in its 11th day – as Trump had demanded billions of dollars for a U.S.-Mexico border wall and Democrats have rejected his request.
Trump had campaigned on a pledge to build the wall at Mexico’s expense, a proposition Mexican officials called ludicrous.
Officials from the Department of Homeland Security will brief the top two leaders in each party in the House and the Senate.
“Border Security and the Wall ‘thing’ and Shutdown is not where Nancy Pelosi wanted to start her tenure as Speaker! Let’s make a deal?” Trump tweeted Tuesday.
In a televised White House session on Dec. 11, Trump said he would take responsibility for a shutdown over the wall as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said they would not support wall funding.
Pelosi responded to Trump’s “let’s make a deal” invitation by tweeting that the president had “given Democrats a great opportunity to show how we will govern responsibly & quickly pass our plan to end the irresponsible #TrumpShutdown – just the first sign of things to come in our new Democratic Majority committed to working #ForThePeople.”
The shutdown began Dec. 22 and there has been no sign of direct negotiations involving Republicans, Democrats and the White House. Members of Congress left Washington while Trump remained at the White House and each side blamed the other.
Trump refers to the partial government closure as the “Schumer shutdown.”
The president has asked for $5 billion in border money, far beyond the $1.3 billion that Democrats plan to vote through this week. Trump, who tweeted his opposition to the plan on Tuesday, has reiterated that he had no plans to back down.
Tr (c) 2019, The Washington Post · Anne Gearan, Erica Werner