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Democrats hold firm on shutdown as Trump refuses to take blame

25 December 2018

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer blasted the president and blamed him for provoking the shutdown: "President Trump, if you want to open the government abandon the wall, plain and simple".

The partial shutdown comes after Republicans in the Senate failed to secure the votes needed to approve the federal funds. At the end of the government's fiscal year on September 30, Congress needs to pass annual appropriation to fund federal agencies and programs.

Trump was staying in Washington for Christmas because of the shutdown, the White House said.

Republicans were saddled with the blame, but most Americans suffered relatively minor inconveniences like closed parks and delays in processing passport applications.

Trump reversed course Thursday and rejected a measure that had unanimously passed the Senate and was under House consideration.

Mr Trump has dug in on his demand for $5 billion for construction of the wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. In retaliation, Trump is refusing to sign a broader spending bill, triggering a stand-off that has left swathes of the U.S. government temporarily without funding. Democrats say a wall is wasteful and ineffective.

In a tweet Monday, Trump compared the Fed to a blundering golfer "who can't score because he has no touch - he can't putt!". It was only when I made it an important part of my campaign, because people and drugs were pouring into our Country unchecked, that they turned against it.

What is clear, though, is that Trump is all alone (for now) in the White House today and isn't exactly suffering in silence.

Now, as Republicans prepare to relinquish their hold on government, with Democrats taking control of the House in January, the opportunities - and limits - of the GOP alliance with the Trump White House may be running their course.

The shutdown began at midnight Friday after opposition Democrats resisted President Donald Trump's demand for $5bn (£4bn) for his Mexico border wall.

The two sides don't appear close to a deal, even though their offers differ by tiny fraction of the overall federal budget.

Jeremy Corbyn Mouths 'Stupid Woman' to PM May in Parliament
She told Today that Mr Corbyn was an honest man and "if he has something to say sorry for he will always say sorry". I think it's a row about nothing. "If a member has failed to do so that member has a duty to apologise", he said.

The House of Representatives and the Senate resumed discussions at noon on Saturday, but the latter chamber adjourned without a deal being reached.

Democrats say saying Trump was willing to sign a deal to keep the government operating without the full $5 billion, but backed out after those Schumer calls "right-wing radio and TV talk show hosts" complained.

Mulvaney said he was awaiting a response from Schumer, whose office said the parties remained "very far apart".

Asked why Trump doesn't accept the $1.6 billion for border security that Democrats have offered, Graham said it's because Democrats offered the money a year ago, signifying their unwillingness to work with the president to find compromise.

Although Democrats have been known to be opposed to strict border security, Schumer claimed that was not the truth.

Trump has demanded $5-billion to help finance construction of a fence along the US-Mexico border, something Democrats in Congress have resisted.

Any ultimate deal will likely depend on what defines "the wall".

Speaking to ABC's This Week programme, Sen Merkley said a "30-foot concrete wall" and "30-foot steel spikes" were "not the smart way".

Last week, the central bank hiked rates, infuriating Trump, who has ignored a traditional respect for the Fed's independence, calling it "crazy", "out of control" and a greater economic threat than China.

"If you're not going to spend nine out of 10 dollars on an issue, you obviously don't care about it that much", Merkley said.

Democrats hold firm on shutdown as Trump refuses to take blame