The White House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi began the 32nd day of the government shutdown bickering about invitations to talk as no new negotiations are planned amid a stalemate with no end in sight.
Democrats on Saturday rejected a proposal that would trade temporary protections for undocumented migrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, for Donald Trump’s desired $5.7 billion for a southern border wall before the president even began describing it in a late-afternoon address.
The Senate is expected to take up a version of the Trump proposal this week, but so far, no Democratic senator has said they will vote to end debate and move to a final decision. That procedural vote would need 60 senators voting to shut down debate, meaning if all GOP senators voted yes, they would still need seven Democrats to cross the aisle.
With that proposal likely headed nowhere, Trump and congressional Democratic leaders eventually will have to start talking again. The president earlier this month said only the “principals” will strike a final deal. But on Monday, a White House spokesman signaled no new negotiations between Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi — who have been locked in a bitter back-and-forth battle — are on the horizon.
“She won’t even have a conversation with the president,” Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said Tuesday.
He then referred to the last time Trump and Pelosi talked: a Jan. 9 Situation Room meeting that the president walked out of after a back-and-forth with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.
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After bickering with Schumer, Trump turned to the speaker and asked whether she would support his border barrier demands within 30 days if he were to open the shuttered government agencies.
“She had a one-word answer: ‘no,’” Gidley told Fox News, leaving out the president’s insistence on getting all of his border wall funding that day. “And that’s where we stand right now."
But a spokesman for Pelosi dismissed Gidley’s assessment of the current state of talks.
“We have received no request to meet or even to have a phone call,” the Pelosi spokesman said.
What’s more, Pelosi and Schumer — echoed by Democratic members and the party’s growing slate of 2020 White House hopefuls — repeatedly have called on Trump to reopen the government before serious negotiations about his border barrier can start.
Sen. Mark Warner said Trump’s new proposal for a border security plan could serve as a “starting point” for negotiations if the shutdown were brought to an end.
“I’ll use that as a starting point, but you’ve got to start by opening the government,” the Virginia Democrat said Sunday.
“We cannot reward the kind of behavior of hostage-taking,” Warner said. “If the president can arbitrarily shutdown the government now, he will do it time and again.”
Trump used several Monday evening and Tuesday morning tweets to tout the coming Senate vote and try to pressure Pelosi and her party.
Never seen @senatemajldr and Republicans so united on an issue as they are on the Humanitarian Crisis & Security on our Southern Border. If we create a Wall or Barrier which prevents Criminals and Drugs from flowing into our Country, Crime will go down by record numbers!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2019
Without a Wall our Country can never have Border or National Security. With a powerful Wall or Steel Barrier, Crime Rates (and Drugs) will go substantially down all over the U.S. The Dems know this but want to play political games. Must finally be done correctly. No Cave!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2019
Democrats are kidding themselves (they don’t really believe it!) if they say you can stop Crime, Drugs, Human Trafficking and Caravans without a Wall or Steel Barrier. Stop playing games and give America the Security it deserves. A Humanitarian Crisis!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 21, 2019
Meanwhile, Gidley declined to comment on whether the president will deliver his second State of the Union address as planned on Jan. 29 from the House chamber.
“We have no announcement at this time. Nancy Pelosi will not dictate when he can or cannot have a conversation with the American people,” Gidley said. “Nancy Pelosi is playing politics with that venue. There are many ways he can deliver the State of the Union address.”
Last week, the speaker cited security concerns because of the shutdown in asking Trump to consider delaying the address or handing it over to lawmakers in writing. That prompted him to pull the plug on her planned trip with other congressional Democrats to Afghanistan, a move that included nixing all such lawmaker overseas trips as long as a quarter of the government is closed.
David Lerman contributed to this report.