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Government shutdown: Trump considers using emergency powers to fund border wall and end shutdown that could last 'months or even years'

Clark Mindock
New York
Saturday 05 January 2019 02:28 GMT
Government shutdown: How does it work and will Trump’s border wall fight derail resolution negotiations

House Democrats have passed a plan to re-open the US government without funding President Donald Trump’s border wall — but a meeting between congressional leaders and the president in the White House has shown little promise for a quick fix to the ongoing funding problems.

The largely party-line votes on the bill Thursday – on the Democrats first day in the majority - came after Mr Trump made a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room, where he introduced leaders of the National Border Patrol Council who claimed a physical border barrier is necessary for national security. The president pledged to keep fighting for over $5bn in funding for the wall, which was a major campaign promise when he ran for president two years ago.

On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Mr Trump — alongside the other seven top members of the Senate and House leadership caucuses — at the White House, where Democrats and Republicans clashed over the president's request for $5.6bn in border wall funding. Mr Trump, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, had threatened to maintain the government shutdown for "months or even years" if he does not get the funding he seeks.

Mr Trump, during a press conference at the White House Rose Garden following the meeting, confirmed that he had threatened to keep the shutdown going indefinitely if needed, but also confirmed that he is considering emergency powers to re-appropriate funds to build a border wall.

It has been two weeks since the government funding expired for a portion of the US government, forcing hundreds of thousands of federal workers to work without pay or stay home until the politicians in Washington can agree to funding legislation.

While congressional leaders have failed to reach an agreement, rubbish in the country's national parks has piled up and other basic services have been cut back.

Read along for our coverage of the ongoing talks between Congress and the White House below

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Good morning and welcome to our ongoing coverage of the US government shutdown — we've officially made it to the two week mark.

Here is what lies ahead on Friday: President Donald Trump is scheduled to host House and Senate leadership in the White House today, hoping to strike a deal to end the partial government shutdown that started two weeks ago come midnight.

Will that happen? Well, let's just say it appears unlikely — Democrats officially took over control of the House on Thursday and newly-elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has vowed to reject any Republican proposition to give the president the $5.4bn in border funding he has demanded.

And, there are signs that the tides are turning against Mr Trump. On Thursday evening, hours after Ms Pelosi took over the speaker's gavel, the House pushed through legislation that would fund the government without border wall funding. Soon after, two Senate Republicans — Maine's Susan Collins and Colorado's Cory Gardner — signaled that they believe it is time to reopen the government, border wall or no.

Clark Mindock4 January 2019 14:58

Let's check in on what President Donald Trump as been thinking about on the morning after Democrats officially took control of the House.

So far today, the president has tweeted just three times — and mentioned the ongoing shutdown a grand total of zero times.

What's he talking about? Well, the economy and his own potential impeachment...

With Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House and Democrats in control, that may certainly be a possibility. But, it is far from a sure thing that Ms Pelosi would support impeachment efforts, as they could have negative political ramifications.

As for the economy, Mr Trump tweeted a reassuring message that recent fluctuations in the market were foreseeable now that there is split government. He also touted recent jobs numbers.

Clark Mindock4 January 2019 15:18

Here is a more in-depth look at the talk of impeachment in Washington now that Democrats are in power in the House of Representatives.

While it is far from clear that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi would support efforts to impeach President Donald Trump, she has not ruled it out. And, there are several members of her caucus that would love nothing more than to see the reality star turned politician hit with impeachment papers.

Clark Mindock4 January 2019 15:38

Representative Rashida Tlaib — who became one of two of the first Muslim women to be sworn into the US House on Thursday — is already making some big waves in Washington.

Ms Tlaib was filmed vowing that she and her colleagues would make sure Mr Trump is impeached in the House now that Democrats control that chamber.

Would that end up with the president being forced from office? Fat chance. Mr Trump, for the most part, still enjoys the support of Republicans in Congress. And that includes Senate support, where Republicans still maintain majority control.

Clark Mindock4 January 2019 15:58

White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley spoke to reporters this morning regarding expectations for the upcoming meeting between the president and Congressional leadership. Here are his comments, which show the White House is not ready to back down from the president's demands for more than $5bn in funding for a border wall.

"The expectations are for a solution to the crisis at the border. The president has laid out what he wants. He has also laid out what the people at DHS, ICE, Customs and Border Protection, tell him that they need to protect the American people," Mr Gidley said, referencing several federal agencies tasked with immigration missions.

"Nancy Pelosi is now the duly elected speaker of the House. The president wants to work with her, he doesn't want a shutdown. He has proposed a piece of legislation that passed, obviously, the Senate that would reopen the government, fund the government, but also protect the American people," Mr Gidley said.

"That’s what he wants and that’s the expectation from this meeting, because last time Democrats refused to listen to any statistical information about the crisis along the border", he continued, referencing a Wednesday meeting between Congressional leadership and the president in the White House Situation room. "They didn’t believe it, didn’t know it, and once we said a few of those statistics, didn’t care about it".

Clark Mindock4 January 2019 16:18

Democrats are currently in the US Capitol laying out their legislative agenda, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Congressional leaders are expected to meet soon in the White House to discuss a possible end to the ongoing partial government shutdown.

There is little optimism that the leaders will find a way to end the shutdown when they meet in the Situation Room, but the dynamics have changed quite a bit since their previous meeting on Wednesday.

It appears the meeting is running a little late at this point, after having been scheduled to start at 11:30am ET.

Clark Mindock4 January 2019 16:38

Here is a pretty striking photo from Roll Call's Bill Clark showing the changing of the plaque in the Capitol yesterday just after Nancy Pelosi was voted to become speaker of the House.

Clark Mindock4 January 2019 16:58

Here's another sign that President Donald Trump has little intention of backing down from his demands for over $5bn in border wall funding — he has sent a long letter to congressional leadership extolling the virtues of walls.

Among the reasons to build a wall? Well, rich people like himself tend to build them, Mr Trump writes.

"Walls work. That's why rich, powerful, and successful people build them around their homes," the letter reads. "All Americans deserve the same protection".

Clark Mindock4 January 2019 17:18

President Donald Trump is expected to speak in the Rose Garden this afternoon following his meeting with Congressional Democrats and Republicans.

The meeting in the Situation Room regarding the ongoing government shutdown follows after Democrats officially took control of the House of Representatives, and after Speaker Nancy Pelosi was elected to her leadership position.

By all accounts, it is unlikely that much will get done now that Democrats have taken control of the people's chamber  — and the two sides have thus far indicated that they are entrenched in their current positions regarding funding for Mr Trump's much talked about border wall.

Clark Mindock4 January 2019 17:28

While there are no public events on the official White House schedule, workers are setting up a platform in the Rose Garden in anticipation of President Donald Trump's expected remarks after his meeting with Congressional leadership today.

Those leaders are now in the White House, as is National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Clark Mindock4 January 2019 17:38

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