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Trump digs in on wall, as shutdown enters week three

07 January 2019

Tlaib kicked off her term with an expletive-laced vow to impeach President Donald Trump, triggering Republican outrage and testing party discipline barely a day after Democrats regained the House. "I don't call it a shutdown, I call it doing what you have to do for the benefit and safety of our country".

"We have no choice", he added.

The impasse over Trump's demand for $5 billion for the barrier, which he calls instrumental to border security, has forced a partial government shutdown that's lasted more than two weeks.

Talks aimed at ending the shutdown were to resume Sunday afternoon in Vice President Mike Pence's office, a day after a meeting involving him and representatives of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the top two Democrats in Congress, made little headway.

Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, seem in no mood to make concessions to the president on a border wall Pelosi has described as an "immorality". "It really depends on the Democrats". We reaffirmed @POTUS' commitment to secure the border, build the wall, keep Americans safe & reopen gov't.

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President Trump also said he could declare a national emergency to build the proposed border wall without the approval of Congress.

During his free-wheeling session with reporters, Trump also wrongly claimed that he'd never called for the wall to be concrete.

"And if he has to give up a concrete wall, replace it with a steel fence in order to do that so that Democrats can say, "See?"

Mulvaney, who took part in talks with Pence and congressional aides on Saturday, said technical requests bogged them down. "I don't ... establish any language standards for my colleagues, but I don't think it's anything worse than what the president has said".

But the White House and congressional Democratic negotiators can't even agree on "basic facts", and Democrats are stalling because they think Trump is losing the battle over public opinion, he said. In past shutdowns, furloughed government workers have been paid retroactively when government funding has resumed and most officials in Washington assume the same will happen this time as well.

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The stand-off has seen Mr Trump withhold support for a bill to fully fund the government until he gets money for a US-Mexico border wall. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, in an interview with CNN's "State of the Union", accused Democrats of being there to "stall".

Democrats have declined to approve the $5.6 billion Trump wants to fulfill a 2016 campaign promise to curb illegal immigration. Asked about it on "Fox News Sunday", White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said "whatever action he takes will certainly be lawful, and we're looking at every option".

He told reporters as he departed the White House for meetings at Camp David that he'll be asking the companies to design "a lovely steel product" and "we'll use that as our barrier".

House Democrats plan to pass a series of bills this week to reopen government, breaking up the legislation they have already approved in a bid to get Republicans to agree to reopen certain agencies, Hoyer said on "Meet the Press".

Schiff said the burden remained on Trump to move and reopen the government, saying Trump had painted himself into a corner and needed to "figure out how he unpaints himself from that corner".

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Trump digs in on wall, as shutdown enters week three