‘Could be a while’: Trump refuses to budge in shutdown standoff

Donald Trump is standing firm on his demand for billions of dollars for the wall

The US-Mexico border is roughly 3220km long.

On Thursday, Democrats will officially take over the House, and their first order of business ― after they've elected their speaker ― will be passing legislation extending funding to all the shuttered agencies, pressuring Senate Republicans and President Donald Trump to let go of the border wall fight and end the shutdown. The US$5.6 billion Trump is demanding would finance about 320km of wall, and less than 160km has already been constructed or renovated, according to Department of Homeland Security officials.

"We are in a shutdown because Democrats refuse to fund border security", he said, insisting that a wall is the answer.

The last real shutdown, which occurred in January of previous year, came to a quiet end after only three days, when Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer frittered away what little power he had during the still-unresolved debate over the future of DACA recipients. Congress and the president are at an impasse over funding for Trump's pet project, a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

Trump met with Democratic leaders on Wednesday at the White House, but there was once again no real movement.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) further pressed the point, saying he'd confronted Trump during the meeting about why he wouldn't accept that offer.

Democrats have noted Trump repeatedly promised during his campaign and earlier in his presidency that Mexico would pay for the wall, not USA taxpayers.

Trump warns US govt shutdown could last 'a long time'
Trump claims Mexico is paying for wall, demands taxpayer money...

The briefing is scheduled for 3 p.m. EST Wednesday, the day before Democrats assume control of the House.

"They hate the word "wall", they just hate it, right?"

Following a heated exchange with Trump in early December about the border funds, Nancy Pelosi said that the wall was "like a manhood thing for him", before adding, "as if manhood could ever be associated with him".

"Our first order of business will be to end the reckless Trump shutdown and reopen the government", Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of NY, the incoming caucus chairman, said in an interview.

At the same time, Mr Trump said he would keep the Government partially shut for "as long as it takes" to secure funding for the border wall.

Seven of the 21 Cabinet posts are held by acting or temporary officials, including acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Trump had said Mexico would pay for the wall but Mexico has refused. Major agencies like the Pentagon and the Health and Human Services Department have already been funded through the end of the fiscal year September 30, thanks to spending bills passed by Congress earlier in the year and signed by Trump. "The wall is your number one point of security". They plan to pass two bills: one to fund the Homeland Security department at current levels through February 8, which would continue $1.3 billion in border barrier funding; and the other to fund the rest of the government through September 30, at levels negotiated on a bipartisan basis in the Senate. Senate Republicans are reluctant to consider the House bills unless they know the president is on board.

The shutdown has gone on for 12 days.

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