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.

Cases: 259117

Reported Deaths: 5668
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17436187
Hinds16524328
Harrison13876199
Rankin11000217
Jackson10652187
Lee8981141
Madison8413168
Jones6552112
Forrest6101121
Lauderdale6034189
Lowndes5463119
Lafayette507393
Lamar496465
Washington4877124
Bolivar4068109
Oktibbeha401681
Panola378380
Pontotoc372155
Monroe3628105
Warren3619101
Union350563
Marshall349569
Neshoba3433152
Pearl River3380104
Leflore3079108
Lincoln300687
Sunflower289272
Hancock285360
Tate276762
Alcorn268854
Pike266580
Itawamba266261
Scott253448
Yazoo250156
Prentiss249552
Tippah245850
Copiah244549
Coahoma243654
Simpson240069
Leake234367
Grenada221171
Marion218473
Covington216972
Adams210170
Wayne206432
Winston205267
George202739
Attala195761
Newton195745
Tishomingo192461
Chickasaw186144
Jasper176038
Holmes169868
Clay162735
Tallahatchie154935
Stone148424
Clarke143562
Calhoun138021
Smith125825
Yalobusha120234
Walthall113437
Greene112129
Noxubee111425
Montgomery110936
Carroll105922
Lawrence104317
Perry103231
Amite99926
Webster94324
Tunica87621
Jefferson Davis87327
Claiborne86825
Benton84023
Humphreys83624
Kemper79120
Quitman7029
Franklin68716
Choctaw62313
Wilkinson58825
Jefferson55920
Sharkey44217
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 432536

Reported Deaths: 6379
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63523957
Mobile30967562
Madison27627201
Tuscaloosa21122268
Montgomery19495326
Shelby18941126
Baldwin16798188
Lee12901102
Morgan12447129
Etowah11911178
Calhoun11365205
Marshall10322119
Houston8813156
Limestone823176
Cullman8159106
Elmore8056104
DeKalb7796102
Lauderdale773399
St. Clair7705122
Talladega6347109
Walker5993174
Jackson590341
Colbert543274
Blount541186
Autauga527061
Coffee454160
Dale405482
Franklin371948
Russell345712
Chilton340972
Covington334168
Escambia328344
Dallas310196
Chambers297370
Clarke290536
Tallapoosa2665107
Pike258830
Marion250155
Lawrence249150
Winston231442
Bibb219848
Geneva206946
Marengo205229
Pickens198631
Hale180842
Barbour177836
Fayette174528
Butler171358
Cherokee162530
Henry157523
Monroe150718
Randolph143236
Washington139527
Clay128546
Crenshaw121644
Cleburne119724
Lamar119621
Macon119637
Lowndes112536
Wilcox105822
Bullock101428
Perry99118
Conecuh96320
Sumter89726
Greene76723
Coosa62215
Choctaw51624
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