Trump ‘isn’t going to back off’ on shutdown

Trump ‘isn’t going to back off’ on shutdown

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Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (C) poses for a photograph with Democratic women on 4 January 2019 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (C) poses with an all-time high of 102 women serving in the lower chamber

The White House says the president “isn’t going to back off” as he meets congressional leaders for talks on the partial government shutdown.

President Donald Trump is refusing to sign any budget without funding for a US-Mexico border wall, which Democrats are adamantly against.

The House of Representatives passed a bill to reopen the government, but the Senate has rejected it.

Around 800,000 federal workers have been without pay since 22 December.

Image copyright White House/Shealah Craighead

Image caption Mr Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence met with Republican and Democratic leaders on Wednesday

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle are negotiating with Mr Trump on Friday morning.

The White House and top Democrats have shown little sign of backing down since holding their first meeting earlier this week over the partial government shutdown.

Democrats, who now hold the majority in the House, passed spending bills on Thursday to reopen the government, including $1.3bn (£1bn) of border security funds until 8 February.

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Media captionFive historic moments as new US Congress opens

But the legislation cannot take effect unless it passes the Republican-controlled Senate, where leader Mitch McConnell said his party would not back any measures without the president’s support.

The Kentucky senator called the Democratic budget “a time-wasting act of political posturing”.

  • The impact of the government shutdown
  • How women are changing the face of Congress

The partial US government shutdown began when Congress and Mr Trump failed to reach an agreement over a budget bill in December.

The Republicans had passed an initial funding bill including $5bn (£4bn) for the wall, when they still had a majority in the House, but they could not get the necessary 60 votes in the 100-seat Senate.

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Media captionThe return of the woman Republicans love to hate

Which side will blink first?

Some vulnerable Republican senators up for re-election in 2020 have spoken out in favour of approving the budget bills to end the government shutdown.

Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado was the first to do so, saying on Thursday that Congress should reopen the government and let wall negotiations continue afterwards.

Maine Senator Susan Collins echoed this view, suggesting the president should sign the agreed upon spending bills first so federal employees could get back to work.

The White House is again floating the idea of a deal for ‘Dreamers’ – immigrants who illegally entered the US as children.

Democrats want to ensure that these individuals are shielded from deportation, but have insisted that they will not support a deal over wall funding.

  • What is this Dreamer debate all about?

Vice-President Mike Pence told Fox News the deal was being “talked about”, but that Mr Trump said no deal was possible “without a wall”.

What does the partial shutdown mean?

  • About 25% of the US federal government has no funding
  • Nine departments have been affected, including Homeland Security, Justice, Housing, Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, and the Treasury
  • Around 800,000 federal workers are now furloughed – that is, temporarily laid off due to a lack of funding – or working without pay
  • Native American tribes who receive substantial federal funding are struggling
  • National Parks have become hazardous without staff

#ShutdownStories: The impact of the government shutdown


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