President Trump invites congressional leaders to White House
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has invited congressional leaders from both parties to the White House, according to two congressional sources, setting the stage for the first meeting between top Democratic and Republican leaders and the President since the partial government shutdown began 11 days ago.
While details on the meeting are still being worked out, it likely will occur Wednesday afternoon and would include a briefing on border security from Department of Homeland Security officials, the sources said.
The meeting would come as negotiations to re-open about a quarter of the federal government have been frozen for nearly two weeks, and just one day before Democrats take over as the majority party in the House. Compromise proposals, to the extent they existed in the first place, have not been traded or even discussed in recent days as both sides settled into their respective positions.
A Hill source familiar with the meeting said few details are known about the homeland security briefing that congressional leaders were invited to attend, including who will lead it, what else is on the agenda or who else will attend. The invited congressional leaders include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican Conference Chair John Thune, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, incoming House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and incoming House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, the source said.
Pelosi and Schumer have laid out their proposals to end the shutdown, which the House is expected to pass just hours after the new Congress is sworn in. The plan includes packaging six bipartisan full Senate appropriations bills together and then separately moving a stopgap measure to fund the Department of Homeland Security until February 8 — the bill at the core of the border wall fight. The short-term proposal would maintain the current border security funding level of $1.3 billion, which can be used for fencing and border barrier repairs.
That proposal has already been rejected by President Trump, who tweeted Tuesday: “The Democrats, much as I suspected, have allocated no money for a new Wall. So imaginative! The problem is, without a Wall there can be no real Border Security – and our Country must finally have a Strong and Secure Southern Border!”
He followed this with another tweet later Tuesday, writing, “Border Security and the Wall “thing” and Shutdown is not where Nancy Pelosi wanted to start her tenure as Speaker! Let’s make a deal?”
In response, Pelosi tweeted, “@realDonaldTrump has given Democrats a great opportunity to show how we will govern responsibly & quickly pass our plan to end the irresponsible #TrumpShutdown — just the first sign of things to come in our new Democratic Majority committed to working #ForThePeople.”
McConnell has made clear that he will not move forward on any measure that doesn’t have the President’s sign-off, leaving a pathway out of the shutdown — short of one side suddenly moving off its current position — elusive.