Published: Thu, January 03, 2019
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Democrats in new Congress: Thorns in Trump's side

Democrats in new Congress: Thorns in Trump's side

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi made their first visit to the White House since their December 11 meeting with Trump, when he said he would be "proud" to take responsibility for a government shutdown in his effort to force Congress to spend billions of dollars on a wall along the southern border. Trump arranged a briefing on the border at the White House situation room for lawmakers from both parties, the first face-to-face meeting between the president and Democratic leaders since the shutdown began. He said the current border is "like a sieve" and noted the tear gas "flying" overnight to deter arrivals. We want to solve that issue. "We're asking the president to open up government. And I think at the end of the day, the president, listening to him, he wants to solve this as well", he said.

"Are you willing to come up and give him some of this money for the wall?"

The White House is calling the Democratic plan a "non-starter", saying it fails to secure the border and puts the needs of other countries above the needs of its own citizens.

When Democrats, led by presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, take over the House on Thursday, they plan to approve a two-part spending package meant to end the shutdown.

But Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill have previously supported $1.3 billion for border security, an amount far less than the $5 billion the president has insisted on, and Democrats have refused to accede to Trump's demand for funding specifically for building a border wall. That offer was made when Vice President Mike Pence and other top officials met with Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer at the start of the shutdown.

And they will continue their oversight of the Trump administration and Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In a tweet Wednesday morning, Trump claimed, falsely, that Mexico was already paying for a border wall, thanks to a newly renegotiated trade deal, and that the wall was already largely done but he needed billions of dollars anyway.

Trump's comments came at what was billed as the first Cabinet meeting of 2019.

Pelosi replied later that day, blaming Trump for the "irresponsible" shutdown.

In an interview with Fox News on Monday, Trump said that he was ready to end the shutdown. The meeting is taking place before Democrats retake control of the House tomorrow, heralding a massive power shift in Washington after two years of unified Republican control.

The "briefing" from Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen barely got off the ground, not that she was likely to change any minds. A spokesman for GOP leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans would not take action without Trump's backing.

The Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is among those institutions closed due to the partial government shutdown. At the same time, administration officials said Trump was in no rush for a resolution to the impasse, believing he has public opinion and his base on his side. It would provide money through the remainder of the fiscal year, to September 30.

Trump's demand for the wall funding thwarted congressional efforts to pass federal funding legislation last month.

But California Democrats have remained painfully silent on Singh's death - even though Pelosi and California Sens.

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