As the partial government shutdown churned through its seventeenth day, both sides remained far apart in negotiations to provide funding for full government operations, with money for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border continuing as the major snag.
President Trump likely will provide the next major turn in the story when he addresses the nation tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. EST on what the President called “the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reiterated the same language when she revealed on Twitter today that President Trump will travel to the southern border on Thursday “to meet with those on the frontlines of the national security and humanitarian crisis.”
On Sunday, acting White House budget director Russell T. Vought sent a letter to congressional leaders outlining Trump’s demands including “construction of a steel barrier for the Southwest border” and “an additional $800 million to address urgent humanitarian needs.”
To ensure his demands are met, Trump has said he is willing to go as far as to declare a national emergency, but such an action would almost surely be met with legal challenges.
“I may declare a national emergency dependent on what’s going to happen over the next few days,” he said on Sunday.
Democratic leadership including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., met over the weekend with a group of Republican aides including Vice President Mike Pence, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and presidential advisor Jared Kushner to continue negotiations over government funding, but reported little progress.
In an interview on Sunday, Pelosi said the purpose of the meetings over the weekend was to reopen the government, but asserted that President Trump “would like to not only close the government, build a wall, but also abolish Congress so the only voice that mattered was his own.”
Democrats in the House and Senate continue to insist there will be no taxpayer funding going towards a border wall, while Senate GOP leadership says it won’t schedule a vote on a funding bill that doesn’t have the backing of President Trump.