President Donald Trump threatened on Friday to close the USA southern border if Congress does not agree to provide US$5 billion in taxpayer funds for his border wall, widening a dispute that has already closed portions of the federal government.
Trump is not budging, having panned Democratic offers to keep money at current levels - $1.3 billion for border fencing, but not the wall. "It's a very sad day when we can't get Democrats to even show up for work and sit down with us and have these conversations and try to help make real solutions and get something done".
Trump says $5 billion is needed to extend and improve border barriers along the Mexico frontier.
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When pressed on whether that offer would have called for Pence, White House Office of Management and Budget Director and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to sit down face-to-face with Schumer and Pelosi - who likely will be speaker on January 3 - the official declined to discuss specifics.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has vowed to pass legislation as soon as she takes the gavel, which is expected when the new Congress convenes, to reopen the nine shuttered departments and dozens of agencies now hit by the partial shutdown.
Over the weekend, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, said the White House had made a counter-offer to Democrats on border security.
Misguided as Trump's wall is, the smart thing for Democrats to do would be to give him some money for it in exchange for legalizing Dreamers and those he kicked off "temporary protected status".
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Trump tweeted Friday morning that "We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely", unless a funding deal is reached with "the Obstructionist Democrats". Gates are closed at some national parks, the government won't issue new federal flood insurance policies and in NY, the chief judge of Manhattan federal courts suspended work on civil cases involving US government lawyers, including several civil lawsuits in which Trump himself is a defendant.
If he chose the latter, putting his personal stamp on the shutdown, Congress might then move to override his veto, but that would take a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and the House, a challenging hurdle for lawmakers.
Alas, as I've already insinuated, the causes of Chuck Schumer's intransigence shouldn't be hard for the president to understand.
Almost a week into a U.S.
US oil prices extend gains as equities rise, but economic worries weigh
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