WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A partial government shutdown entered its 24th day on Monday as talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats remained stalled even as some of Trump’s fellow Republicans called on the president to cut a deal and strains mounted nationwide.
Travelers wait in a security line at Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., January 13, 2019. REUTERS/David Shepardson
Trump appeared unmoved to act, however, retweeting criticism of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer that urged the top Democratic leaders to negotiate with him over funding for his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I’ve been waiting all weekend. Democrats must get to work now. Border must be secured!” Trump wrote in an early morning Tweet on Monday.
Democrats have rejected Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for the border wall in addition to other border funds but have said they would support $1.3 billion to bolster border security, including beefing up the number of Border Patrol agents and increasing surveillance.
About one-quarter of the U.S. government shut down last month as Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress as well as the White House. Trump must now win concessions from the Democrats, who took over the U.S. House of Representatives this month following November’s elections. He must also win over enough Senate Democrats to secure the 60 votes needed to pass funding legislation there.
The stress from the shutdown became more visible as 800,000 federal employees across the United States missed their first paychecks on Friday. The cut government services also affected travelers as a jump in unscheduled absences among federal airport security screeners forced closures in Houston and Miami airports.
Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, who last week had called on Trump to declare a national emergency as a way to get money to build his wall, on Sunday urged the president to instead reopen the government for a short period of time in an effort to restart talks before taking such action.
Declaring a national emergency over ongoing immigration issues is fiercely opposed by Democrats and remains unpopular with some other Republicans. It would also likely face an immediate legal challenge.
Trump had said in a televised meeting with Pelosi and Schumer that he would be “proud” to shut down the government but has since blamed the Democrats, reportedly storming out of a White House meeting with them last week.
“Nancy and Cryin’ Chuck can end the Shutdown in 15 minutes. At this point it has become their, and the Democrats, fault!” he tweeted on Monday.
Representatives for Pelosi and Schumer could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday.
U.S. Senator Chris Coons on Monday reiterated fellow Democrats’ call for Trump to reopen the government while negotiations over the wall and larger immigration issues continue.
He acknowledged efforts by Graham and other Republicans to forge a temporary solution but said Trump has been unpredictable even among fellow conservatives and keeps shifting positions.
“Every time they make progress, the president throws cold water on it,” Coons told CNN in an interview.
Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Steve Orlofsky