Trump and Democratic leaders spar over border wall
by Harvest Prude & Mickey McLean
Posted 12/11/18, 01:27 pm
UPDATE: President Donald Trump’s closed-door meeting in Oval Office Tuesday morning with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., over border security quickly turned testy and lasted only 30 minutes.
During the portion that was open to the press, the president said, “If we don’t have border security, we’ll shut down the government.” Schumer, speaking to reporters outside the White House afterward, said, “This temper tantrum that he seems to throw will not get him his wall,” adding that if Trump does not change course, “He will get no wall and he will get a shutdown.” The president said earlier that he’s “proud to shut down the government,” adding he will “take the mantle.”
OUR EARLIER REPORT (11:49 a.m.): WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump hardened his stance on building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, saying Tuesday the wall “will get built” whether or not Congress signs off on funding. The president met Tuesday morning with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in an attempt to resolve the stalemate over border security.
Congress must pass seven appropriations bills by next week or face a government shutdown Dec. 21. Trump wants $5 billion designated for border security, while Democrats want to sustain current spending levels at a more modest $1.3 billion. The president needs to woo Democratic support in the Republican-majority Senate to secure 60 votes needed for a spending bill. So far, neither side has budged.
On Tuesday, the president tweeted that if Democrats did not cooperate, the military would finish building the wall: “People do not yet realize how much of the Wall … has already been built.” The conservative House Freedom Caucus tweeted Monday in support of the president’s position: “This is our last chance before Democrats take over the House.”
Meanwhile, Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement Monday that blame for a shutdown would fall squarely on GOP shoulders: “Our country cannot afford a Trump Shutdown. … [T]he president knows full well that his wall proposal does not have the votes to pass the House and Senate, and should not be an an obstacle to a bipartisan agreement.”
Seventy percent of the federal government has already been funded through next September. Departments facing funding insecurity include Homeland Security, Justice, Housing and Urban Development, and a number of smaller agencies.
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