Published December 11, 2018
President Donald Trump on Tuesday will meet with Democratic leaders to hash out a plan to avert a partial government shutdown later this month despite sharp disagreements over his border wall.
Trump will sit down with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer at the White House on Tuesday ahead of a Dec. 21 deadline to shut down a range of government agencies.
"Our country cannot afford a Trump Shutdown," Pelosi tweeted on Monday, adding that Trump "knows full well that his wall proposal does not have the votes to pass the House and Senate and should not be an obstacle to a bipartisan agreement."
Republican lawmakers have repeatedly urged Trump to cut a deal with Democrats, an acknowledgment of their inability to produce spending bills with Republican votes alone.
Before lawmakers adjourn for the year they also may consider a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, a "save-Mueller" bill, and a plan to overhaul the system for handling sexual harassment complaints on Capitol Hill.
But the most contentious issue is the border wall. Trump has requested the next funding package include at least $5 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border -- an idea Democrats have flatly rejected.
Pelosi and Schumer have urged Trump to support a bill that includes a half-dozen government funding bills largely agreed upon by lawmakers, along with a separate measure that funds the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through Sept. 30.
Democrats will likely push for a continuing resolution that funds the remaining appropriations bills if Trump doesn't agree to that, an aide told The Associated Press.
Trump said Friday that Congress should provide all the money he wants for the wall and called illegal immigration a "threat to the well-being of every American community."
At an appearance in Kansas City, Missouri, Trump accused Democrats of playing a political game and said it was one he ultimately would win.
Pelosi, who is seeking to become House speaker in January, said she and many other Democrats consider the wall "immoral, ineffective and expensive."
Schumer said Democrats want to work with Trump to avert a shutdown, but said money for border security should not include the concrete wall Trump has envisioned. Instead, the money should be used for fencing and technology that experts say is appropriate, Schumer said.
"We do not want to let a Trump temper tantrum govern our policies or cause the shutdown of a government, which everyone on both sides of the aisle knows is the wrong idea," Schumer said. If Trump "wants to shut down the government over Christmas over the wall, that's his decision," he said.
But House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said Democrats were the ones playing politics.
Trump "wants to secure the border. He got elected president on that platform," Scalise told Fox News Channel.
If there's a better way to secure the border than the $5 billion plan Trump has laid out, Democrats "need to come with an alternative," House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said Monday. "They can't come and say they want to shut the government down for no reason because they don't want border security. They'll lose that argument with the American people."
Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said Monday he does not believe Trump or Democrats want to shut the government down.
"When I was with him the indication was he didn't want to shut the government down, but he did want his wall," Shelby said.