As US shutdown continues, President Trump switches to ‘steel barrier’

As US shutdown continues, President Trump switches to ‘steel barrier’

As US shutdown continues, President Trump switches to ‘steel barrier’

Trump has offered to build the barrier with steel rather than concrete, billing that as a concession to Democrats' objections to a solid wall.

Numerous government agencies first ran out of funding on December 22, as Democrats vowed to block Trump's requested $5.7 billion to build the border wall and Trump insisted on the money.

Mr. Pence and other top administration officials held talks with Democratic congressional staffers over the weekend, but lawmakers won't take part in the discussions until President Trump agrees to reopen the government.

Jerry Nadler, a Democrat in the House of Representatives, scornfully predicted: "I expect the president to lie to the American people".

But House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Trump's words were just "threatening talk" with no power behind them.

"This is a very important battle to win from the standpoint of safety, number one, [and] defining our country and who we are", Mr Trump told reporters at the White House before leaving for a short trip to the Camp David presidential retreat.

Trump says he's still mulling declaring a national emergency to try to circumvent Congress.

A Trump administration official says income tax refunds for 2018 will go out on time during the partial government shutdown because rules will be changed to make funding available to pay them.

President Trump's border wall prototypes are seen from Tijuana in Baja California state, Mexico, on Monday.

Later in the afternoon, Trump told reporters, "We're looking at a national emergency because we have a national emergency".

"We need to open up government and then negotiate".

Trump told Democrats he was willing to keep the government partially shut down for months and even years over the wall.

Mr Trump exhorted Democrats in Congress to "come back from vacation" and approve funding for his wall.

Former White House communications director Joe Lockhart on Twitter advised TV networks to "demand to see the text in advance and if it is not truthful either don't air it or fact check it live on lower third".

As a new work week began in the United States, about 380,000 government workers remained furloughed, while another 420,000 were deemed essential and required to work with no idea when they will receive their next paycheck. While insisting he wanted to make a deal, he also declared he would not give an inch in his fight for funding for a border barrier, saying: "There's not going to be any bend right here".

"We have a five-month-old son so we have about a month left before we're going to have to start having those hard conversations about what to do next", he said. The White House is also including appropriations requests for humanitarian assistance dollars within a comprehensive border security package, which Pence said was a concern raised by Democrats in his meetings with them.

Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the majority leader, said on "Meet the Press": "We'll do it bill by bill so we can help taxpayers, we can help people who need food assistance, we can help people who need housing vouchers, people who need flood insurance". She has long argued against them and tried to broker resolutions to past stalemates.

The president's inability to get a border wall could become a major plank in his eye when he runs for reelection in 2020, since the border wall was a key component of his campaign platform.

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