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No signs of a deal to end partial government shutdown

Talks to reopen parts of the government appeared at a standstill Wednesday night, with negotiators making li...

Posted: Dec 27, 2018 2:53 PM
Updated: Dec 27, 2018 2:53 PM

Talks to reopen parts of the government appeared at a standstill Wednesday night, with negotiators making little progress and President Donald Trump vowing to do "whatever it takes" to get new funds for a border wall.

Capitol Hill remained quiet over the Christmas break, and while both chambers of Congress are expected to gavel in on Thursday, there are no votes scheduled and no signs yet that lawmakers will return to Washington this week.

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Asked Wednesday how long he believes the partial shutdown will last, the President held firm on his position.

"Whatever it takes," Trump said. "I mean, we're gonna have a wall. We're gonna have safety. We need safety for our country."

Funding for about a quarter of the government expired at midnight early Saturday after lawmakers and the White House failed to reach an agreement on the amount of border wall money to include in a must-pass spending package.

Trump is blaming Democrats for the partial closure of the federal government, despite saying earlier this month that he would own any shutdown and be "proud" to do it over border security.

"Nancy is calling the shots," the President said Wednesday, referring to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is all but certain to become speaker of the House once Democrats take the majority next month. Trump implied the California Democrat was stonewalling wall funding to shore up support for her speaker bid, saying, "Probably if they do something, she's not going to get the votes."

Negotiations have largely taken place at the staff level this week after Vice President Mike Pence made an offer over the weekend of $2.5 billion for border security, which is half of the $5 billion that Trump has been demanding and was included in a House-passed bill.

Democrats have made clear that Pence's offer was a nonstarter and they appear to be holding firm on their previous offer, which includes $1.3 billion in new funds for border security with some disaster relief aid.

In a Christmas Eve statement, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York argued that negotiations have been in disarray because of mixed messaging from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

"Different people from the same White House are saying different things about what the president would accept or not accept to end his Trump Shutdown, making it impossible to know where they stand at any given moment," the Democratic leaders said. "The president wanted the shutdown, but he seems not to know how to get himself out of it."

Their statement came as Trump unleashed a string of Christmas Eve tweets blasting Democrats for not making a counteroffer after Pence made his offer over the weekend.

"At some point the Democrats not wanting to make a deal will cost our Country more money than the Border Wall we are all talking about," the President tweeted. "Crazy!"

In a Christmas Day phone call with US troops, Trump made no predictions of when government agencies would reopen, saying only that "it's not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they would like to call it."

The President was asked repeatedly while visiting US troops in Iraq on Wednesday whether he would be willing to accept $2 billion for the border wall. He dodged the question three times before finally saying, "I'm not going to talk about it now."

House Democrats are expected to bring up a bill to reopen the government in the new session, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has made it clear he will put on the floor only legislation that has Trump's backing and could get 60 votes in the Senate.

Rep. Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican who's a close ally of the President's and chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said Wednesday that Trump's resolve to get $5 billion for border security is "very firm."

"I can tell you, if (Democrats) believe this President is going to yield on this particular issue, they're misreading him, misreading the American people," Meadows told CNN's Manu Raju on "Inside Politics."

"I see no evidence that would suggest he would come even close to 1.3" billion dollars, Meadows said. "I don't see that as a reasonable counteroffer."

Trump claimed this week -- without explanation -- that he'd recently approved 115 miles of border barrier and he would go to the new stretch of the wall in January, though the White House hasn't provided any details on the barrier.

"It's going to be built, hopefully rapidly," he said. "I'm going there at the end of January for the start of construction. That's a big stretch."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 116617

Reported Deaths: 3283
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds8011179
DeSoto721079
Harrison539884
Jackson469387
Rankin401686
Madison384394
Lee364082
Forrest309478
Jones296184
Washington260399
Lafayette253143
Lauderdale2499135
Lamar229138
Oktibbeha203755
Bolivar202877
Neshoba1861111
Lowndes181262
Panola170640
Leflore169188
Sunflower164049
Warren156056
Monroe153073
Pontotoc149020
Marshall147330
Lincoln142959
Pike140456
Copiah138736
Scott126229
Coahoma125537
Yazoo122734
Grenada122639
Simpson122349
Union119725
Tate119339
Itawamba115926
Leake115842
Pearl River115060
Holmes114960
Adams109344
Prentiss108320
Wayne102722
Alcorn102112
George101419
Covington98529
Marion95443
Tippah93123
Newton86827
Chickasaw86226
Hancock85928
Tallahatchie84626
Winston84621
Tishomingo82241
Attala80526
Clarke76353
Clay70522
Jasper69217
Walthall64127
Calhoun62713
Noxubee60117
Smith59816
Yalobusha55614
Montgomery55423
Claiborne53916
Tunica53617
Lawrence53414
Perry51223
Carroll49712
Stone48614
Greene47918
Humphreys44916
Amite42713
Quitman4216
Jefferson Davis41711
Webster37813
Benton3608
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32715
Sharkey28715
Jefferson27710
Franklin2483
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 159439

Reported Deaths: 2699
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23573377
Mobile16994316
Tuscaloosa10462140
Montgomery10352198
Madison942298
Shelby750465
Baldwin671269
Lee657165
Calhoun464761
Marshall442651
Etowah434151
Morgan422335
Houston419334
DeKalb349228
Elmore324653
St. Clair304042
Limestone293631
Walker283793
Talladega271437
Cullman255725
Lauderdale233842
Jackson219417
Autauga208231
Franklin206432
Colbert206032
Blount197225
Russell19603
Chilton190432
Dallas188127
Coffee180711
Dale178952
Covington175929
Escambia174931
Chambers136847
Clarke136617
Pike134514
Tallapoosa133987
Marion110331
Barbour10429
Marengo102622
Butler101241
Winston94013
Geneva9217
Lawrence86933
Pickens86918
Bibb85015
Randolph83516
Hale77730
Cherokee75614
Clay75312
Washington75112
Henry7236
Lowndes71628
Monroe65510
Bullock65017
Crenshaw60930
Perry5956
Fayette58913
Cleburne5739
Wilcox57012
Conecuh56513
Macon53920
Lamar5085
Sumter47421
Choctaw39312
Greene34616
Coosa2093
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