Democrats ‘Didn’t Want to Hear’ Border Security Briefing, Says Rep. McCarthy


Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to assume the speakership of the House of Representatives on Thursday, said after the briefing with the president.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed one possible bipartisan compromise after the meeting, saying the Senate will not take up House Democrats' package of spending bills to reopen the government through February 8 because Trump will not sign it.

Before the meeting with congressional leaders, there was a cabinet meeting where Trump was asked if there was a lower figure he could accept for border wall funding.

Democratic leaders came out next, with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer saying he asked the president for "one good reason" he would not support passing six other department spending bills while talks about border security funding continue.

Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, said during the meeting Trump could not provide a "good answer" for opposing the bills.

"Could be a long time or could be quickly", Trump said during lengthy comments at a Cabinet meeting at the White House, his first public appearance of the new year.

"We're asking for $5.6", Trump said, speaking in billions for his border wall funding demand.

The visit by Pelosi and Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer was their first to the White House since their sharp exchange with Trump in the Oval Office on Dec 11 during which the president told them he would be "proud to shut down the government for border security". Finally, Trump wrapped up by faulting Democrats for the shutdown.

It is clear that Trump is thoroughly invested in getting his way - and not just because he wants to spend billions on a racist folly that would do nothing for border security.

Montana's uninsured rate before and after Medicaid expansion
Montana's uninsured rate before and after Medicaid expansion. Credit Montana Budget and Policy Center

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said there's no need to prolong the shutdown and he was disappointed the talks did not produce a resolution.

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump told voters that drugs, criminals, and terrorists were flooding into the USA across the Mexico border. As a result, the GOP is splintered into two camps: One is populated by Washington stalwarts like Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley, who find themselves in the absurd position of holding the government hostage over a multibillion-dollar debacle that they know is bad for the country and their party's future.

"I remain ready and willing to work with Democrats", Trump tweeted after the meeting.

"They are now feeling the heat".

Right now, all the political forces that could bring the two sides together are flowing in opposite directions, as the political significance of the moment suddenly raises the stakes in their showdown over funding for Trump's border wall.

White House officials, including the departing chief of staff, had indicated that Trump's signature campaign pledge to build the wall would not be fulfilled as advertised.

The negotiations on a deal to open the government have sat frozen for days, according to people involved, as lawmakers in the House and Senate have deserted the Capitol for the holidays and, with no votes scheduled, likely won't return until the start of the next Congress.

Donald Trump and top congressional leaders failed to resolve a partial government shutdown that has stretched well into a second week as the president refused to back off from his demands for billions of dollars for a long-promised wall along the southern United States border with Mexico. That measure would provide money through the remainder of the fiscal year, to September 30. House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters as she emerged from the meeting.

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