Published: Mon, January 07, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Donald Trump to meet with Democrats over government shutdown

Donald Trump to meet with Democrats over government shutdown

"The barrier, or the wall, can be made of steel instead of concrete in case that helps people". He tweeted that steel is "both stronger & less obtrusive".

The White House painted that offer, which Mr Trump floated previously, as an olive branch.

Not all Republicans agree with Trump's insistence on keeping many government agencies shuttered until the border debate is resolved. During the Korean War in 1952, President Harry Truman sought to take over USA steel factories to keep them producing in the face of a planned national strike by industry workers.

White House and congressional negotiators were scheduled to meet Sunday after scant progress was made in a sesson Saturday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats would pass new legislation next week to try and reopen the federal government, a quarter of it has been closed for 15 days.

The Senate had actually reached bipartisan agreement on a budget but Mr Trump then refused to back it, demanding the funding for the wall.

"We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country" to guard against the threat that border officials say is posed by illegal crossings, Trump said.

Building a wall along the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) US-Mexico frontier was a central plank in the 2016 election campaign of Trump, who has sought to equate immigrants with crime, drugs and gangs. There are strong restrictions on the U.S. military and its funding being deployed for domestic, non-defense purposes, though emergency laws sometimes permit it.

In an interview on NBC, Republican Senator Susan Collins of ME called the debate about whether the barrier should be constructed out of concrete or steel "bizarre", and said she was frustrated that both sides "appear to be intransigent".

"I never threaten anybody but I am allowed to do that, yes", Trump said.

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"I haven't done it, but I may do it", Trump said.

He later tweeted the Mr Pence talks were productive.

Last week, House Democrats proposed a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees construction of the wall, at current levels through February 8, with $1.3 billion for border security-a figure far less than Trump requested.

A Democratic aide said Sunday's meeting started about 45 minutes late, and despite the delay they still did not receive a full budget justification.

Smith said, "Unfortunately", the answer would be "yes" that Trump can declare an emergency, under federal law. He said Mexico would pay for the wall through a new trade deal, though there are no such terms in the still-unratified deal.

While the United States military and other major agencies are still fully funded, the impasse has left 800,000 government workers from other departments furloughed or working without pay.

Trump insists to reporters as he departs the White House for staff meetings at Camp David that he feels the pain of hundreds of thousands of federal workers who aren't being paid.

"We've been in touch with a lot of people, and I informed my folks to say that we'll build a steel barrier".

Trump said that he would consider a deal that involved protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients, but indicated that he preferred to wait until the Supreme Court ruled on the issue.

That would be via piecemeal appropriation bills, to reopen certain agencies, such as the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service.

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