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Trump invites lawmakers to meeting to resolve budget impasse

President Donald Trump delivers a speech at the White House. EFE-EPA/File

President Donald Trump delivers a speech at the White House. EFE-EPA/File

EFE

President Donald Trump invited Republican and Democratic congressional leaders to meet him at the White House on Wednesday with the aim of trying to find a solution to the ongoing partial government shutdown, now in its 11th day, local media reported on Tuesday.

According to the specialized news Web site Roll Call, Trump included in his invitation to meet Republicans Kevin McCarthy , Steve Scalise , Mitch McConnell and John Thune and Democrats Nancy Pelosi , Steny Hoyer , Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin , all of them leading lawmakers in the House of Representatives or Senate .

Despite the fact that there has been no official confirmation of the meeting, The Washington Post and other media outlets reported, citing sources knowledgeable about the matter, that officials with the Department of Homeland Security will explain to the lawmakers the challenges posed by US border security in an information session.

The meeting will take place one day before Democrats retake control of the House and vote to fully reopen the government with six bills to fund government operations for 2019 and one short-term bill to fund DHS through Feb. 8.

On Tuesday, Trump rejected the Democrats’ legislative strategy because it does not include the funds he considers necessary to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.

About 25 percent of US government operations have been halted since Dec. 22 after lawmakers were unable to approve a budget that Trump would sign including some $5 billion for Trump’s much-touted border wall, a project that Democrats consider to be anathema and contrary to American values.

“The Democrats, much as I suspected, have allocated no money for a new Wall. So imaginative! The problem is, without a Wall there can be no real Border Security - and our Country must finally have a Strong and Secure Southern Border!” said Trump on his official Twitter account regarding the plan Democrats announced on Monday.

The bill spearheaded by the likely new speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, was lambasted by Trump before the formal legislative process leading to its adoption could be started.

The Democrats’ plan includes approving the provisional budget bill to finance the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8, increasing funds for border security and other such measures by $1.3 billion, far below the $5 billion Trump has demanded.

According to a joint statement issued by Pelosi and Schumer, the measure includes six bills to finance the government through 2019 and one that authorizes funds for DHS through Feb. 8.

On Monday, Trump called upon congressional Democrats to return from their year-end break to vote for more budget funds for border security, thus reopening the portions of the government that are shut down.

Specifically, the government paralysis affects agencies in 10 departments, including Transportation and Justice, as well as dozens of national parks, which are normally a great tourist attraction.

The closure also idles some 800,000 of the 2.1 million federal workers, who will not receive paychecks while their departments and agencies are shut down due to a lack of funding.


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