US President Donald Trump has once again turned down calls by Democrats to end a partial shutdown of the federal government over the funding of his controversial border wall.
President Donald Trump rejected a compromise proposal floated by Vice President Mike Pence to end a partial government shutdown. This rejection, during public comments as part of a Cabinet meeting, came just in advance of Trump meeting in the afternoon with leading Democratic members of Congress.
The president invited top congressional leaders to the White House on Wednesday to discuss possible ways to end the shutdown as it dragged towards its third week.
Sadly, there can be no REAL Border Security without the Wall!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2019
During the meeting, Trump said he would not back down unless he is given the $5.6 billion he has requested for the 2,000-mile physical barrier, which is supposed to stop illegal immigration and drug trafficking through the southern border.
“Could be a long time, or it could be quickly,” Trump said of ending the shutdown. “It’s too important a subject to walk away from.”
He urged both parties in a tweet to work together and “pass a Funding Bill that protects this Nation and its people – this is the first and most important duty of government.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he implored Trump to reopen the government and stop using the shutdown as a “hostage.”
“We asked him to give us one good reason – I asked him directly,” Schumer said. “He could not give a good answer.”
“The bottom line is very simple: at our last meeting the president said, ‘I am going to shut the government down,’” Schumer said outside the White House on Wednesday. “They are now feeling the heat.”
“To use the shutdown as hostage – which they had no argument against – is wrong,” he added.
Trump said during the cabinet meeting, “No, not $2.5 billion, no—we’re asking for $5.6.” Democrats have offered $1.3 and $1.6 billion at various times for improving border security, but prohibiting any be spent on Trump’s wall.
On the 12th day of a partial government shutdown, congressional leaders came no closer to reaching a deal on border security money.