Trump invites congressional leaders to border security briefing

Trump's border wall 'not really a wall', says outgoing chief of staff John Kelly

According to a Democratic leadership aide, the legislation will include the full-year appropriations for six of the seven outstanding funding bills and stop-gap funding until February 8 for the Department of Homeland Security, which is where the fight over President Trump's demand for $5.7 billion in border wall funding is contained. John Thune (R-S.D.).

In a Los Angeles Times interview published on Sunday, Kelly said: "To be honest, it's not a wall". But a previous attempt to reach a compromise that addressed the status of "Dreamers" - young immigrants brought to the US illegally as children - broke down past year as a result of escalating White House demands.

On Thursday, Democrats will take control of the House and are expected to immediately pass a bill to reopen the government without providing the $5 billion Trump has demanded for a wall on the southern border.

With a partial shutdown of the federal government entering its second week owing to a standoff between the president and congressional Democrats over $5 billion in proposed funds toward construction of a wall on the U.S. -Mexico border, Trump began New Year's Eve explaining his rationale for suggesting that some portions of his "big handsome wall" might instead consist of a "Steel Slat Barrier".

Earlier in December, Senate Republicans signed off on a plan that would have averted the shutdown but did not include new wall money, only to have Trump publicly denounce the proposal the next day.

In August 2015 during his presidential campaign, Trump made his expectations for the border explicitly clear, as he parried criticism from rival Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor.

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Congressional aides said the offer was extended to the eight top leaders from both parties in the new House and Senate that convenes on Thursday and will include a briefing by Homeland Security officials. "I'm not gonna blame you for it", President Trump said to Schumer earlier this month. "A lot of people are looking to get their paycheck, and so I'm ready to go anytime they want". Both chambers of Congress are gone, likely leaving the impasse till next week when the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives.

The president's very first words of the new year were an endorsement of a pro-Trump book by former White House aide Sebastian Gorka.

"Illegal immigrants, overwhelmingly, are not bad people", Mr Kelly said, describing many of them as victims misled by traffickers.

Trump canceled a planned trip to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., to stay in Washington to deal with the shutdown, but he has not been in touch with Democratic leaders. He also said the compromise should include changes in federal law to discourage people from trying to enter the US illegally.

The legislation sets the stage for the first major battle of the new Congress between House Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The White House has not provided any information on the meeting or the administration officials who will be present.

The new year will start like how 2018 ended: the federal government will be under a partial shutdown with no end in sight.

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