Washington: Seeking an end to over 10-day partial government shutdown, US President Donald Trump has invited top Republican and Democratic leaders from Congress for a briefing on border security at the White House Wednesday.
The partial government shutdown that started on December 22 has affected 800,000 federal employees, who have either been furloughed or are working without pay. Trump himself cancelled the planned trip to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida to spend time with his family for Christmas and New Year.
On Tuesday, the first day of the New Year, the White House initiated the lead to end government shutdown over the funding for a border wall, which Trump believes would end entry of illegal immigrants into the US. The move comes as lawmakers started arriving in Washington DC after Christmas holidays.
The new Congress, in which the opposition Democrats enjoy a majority in the House of Representatives, begins January 3. "Border Security and the Wall "thing" and Shutdown is not where Nancy Pelosi wanted to start her tenure as Speaker! Let's make a deal?" Trump said in a tweet Tuesday after the White House invited top Democratic and Republican leadership for a briefing on border security.
Early in the day, Trump accused the Democrats of not being interested in border security. "One thing has now been proven. The Democrats do not care about Open Borders and all of the crime and drugs that Open Borders bring!" he said.
Meanwhile, Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi in a "Dear Colleague" letter said on the first day of the new Congress, the Democrats will take action to end what she described as the "Trump Shutdown". "As we pass strong, bipartisan legislation to reopen government, which has already received strong bipartisan support in the Senate," she said.
House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey filed the legislation this week. "The package contains two bills," she said.
One consists of six bills already approved by the Republicans in the Senate, which would reopen all government agencies except for the Department of Homeland Security with full fiscal-year funding until September 30. "The second bill would extend the Department of Homeland Security's funding through February 8th, which is the date the Senate voted for unanimously. It is important to note that these bills contain no new wall funding," she said.
But Trump insisted that he is unlikely to move forward without funding for a border wall.
"I'm in the Oval Office. Democrats, come back from vacation now and give us the votes necessary for Border Security, including the Wall. You voted yes in 2006 and 2013. One more yes, but with me in office, I'll get it built, and Fast!" Trump said in a tweet on December 31.