Pelosi says Democrats will give 'nothing for the wall'

Nancy Pelosi holds her weekly press conference in the Capitol in Washington Dec. 6 2018

Democratic leaders after a meeting at the White House told reporters they would continue to push their own legislation to reopen the United States federal government after President Donald Trump failed to provide a good reason for not ending the shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed one possible bipartisan compromise after the meeting, saying the Senate will not take up House Democrats' package of spending bills to reopen the government through February 8 because Trump will not sign it.

"The President is using the government shutdown to try to force an expensive and ineffective wall upon the American people, but Democrats have offered two bills which separate the arguments over the wall from the government shutdown", incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday in a statement.

Trump invited congressional leaders back to the White House on Friday to continue a border security briefing after congressional leadership elections set for the next day, Rep.

President Trump is holding two major meetings as the partial government shutdown continues.

Trump said Democrats are playing politics with the issue "because they have an eye on 2020". Trump's demand for $5.6 billion to build new sections of wall would finance 200 miles of wall, and less than 100 miles has already been constructed or renovated, according to Department of Homeland Security officials.

He was speaking a day before Democrats take over control of the House of Representatives and showed no signs of backing down over the $5.6bn he wants for the "beautiful" border wall with Mexico. The US-Mexico border is roughly 3220km long.

Before and after the meeting, there was little talk of compromise as Trump and Democrats battled over his demand for border-wall funding, all but assuring the shutdown will barrel into a third week. Democrats believe pressure will mount on Republicans as the shutdown drags on, the aide said. Trump has said he's willing to let this ride for a month if necessary and I think he probably means it. The second bill would include homeland security while the first would include departments such as the IRS.

The House passed a version of an appropriations bill before the partial shutdown with $5.6 billion for wall construction and that included funding for a variety of agencies and departments, including Homeland Security, NASA, and the IRS.

"The Senate will not waste its time considering a Democratic bill which can not pass this chamber and which the president can not sign".

The commander in chief also lamented spending Christmas alone in the White House while his family celebrated the holidays at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Before meeting with lawmakers, Mr Trump said the shutdown would last for "as long as it takes" as he pushes for wall money - fiercely opposed by Democrats - as part of any legislation to reopen agencies shuttered when their funding lapsed on Dec 22.

"It would be the height of irresponsibility and political cynicism for Senate Republicans to now reject the same legislation they have already supported", the Democratic leaders said.

Responding to the Democratic plan, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders late Tuesday night called it a "non-starter" and said it won't re-open the government "because it fails to secure the border and puts the needs of other countries above the needs of our own citizens".

Democratic leaders mulled several proposals to re-open the government over the course of the last week before deciding to move forward with the full funding package. That measure would provide money through the remainder of the fiscal year, to September 30.

The Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is among those institutions closed due to the partial government shutdown.

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