President Donald Trump indicated he will not budge on his demand from Democratic lawmakers for $5.6 billion in funding for his proposed wall along the U.S. southern border, in an extended back-and-forth with reporters Wednesday.
Trump’s showdown with Democratic lawmakers has resulted in a partial government shutdown with neither side currently indicating they will deviate from their hardline position. Trump told reporters he would not accept anything lower than $5.6 billion in funding and that he was willing to let the shutdown continue “as long as it takes.”
Democrats instead say they will offer approximately $1.6 billion of funding for “border security,” which would not be allowed to fund a concrete wall along the southern border.
Trump’s comments came just an hour before he will host Democratic and Republican congressional leaders for a briefing by Homeland Security officials on border security. The meeting is the first face-to-face interaction between Trump, soon-to-be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer since the partial shutdown began and will likely serve as another forum for negotiations.
Pelosi told Democratic leaders ahead of their Thursday takeover of Congress that they would pass legislation immediately to re-open the government, which did not include any additional funding for the wall that Trump requested. (RELATED: Trump Threatens To Close Border If Democrats Won’t Give Him Wall)
The White House, however, declared that this was a non-starter in a Tuesday night statement saying, “Speaker Designate Nancy Pelosi released a plan that will not 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. The Pelosi plan is a non-starter.”