The partial U.S. government shutdown is in its 19th day, and President Donald Trump joined Senate Republicans at a private lunch before meeting later at the White House with congressional leaders of both parties.
At 4:06 p.m. ET, Trump walked out of a White House meeting with congressional leaders including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, calling it a “waste of time.”
“Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time,” Trump tweeted afterward. “I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!”
“He just walked out,” Schumer told reporters after he and Pelosi left the White House meeting. “He couldn’t get his way, and he just walked out of the meeting.”
“The president stomped out of the meeting,” Pelosi said. “It was a petulant president of the United States.”
“It’s just not how democracy works,” she added.
Vice President Mike Pence said the president “made clear today that he is going to stand firm to achieve his priorities.”
“Democratic leaders are unwilling to even negotiate to resolve this partial government shutdown,” Pence said.
White House Threatens to Veto Funding Bills (3:25 p.m.)
The White House threatened to veto legislation the U.S. House is scheduled consider that would reopen most of the shuttered government agencies.
The Democratic controlled House plans to vote starting Wednesday on a series of four funding bills that would re-open sections of government one by one.
“Moving these four bills without a broader agreement to address the border crisis is unacceptable,” the White House Office of Management and Budget said in a statement Wednesday.
Trump Says Republicans ‘Very, Very Unified’ (2:36 p.m.)
Republican members of Congress are “very, very unified” behind continuing the partial government shutdown, Trump said after meeting with GOP senators.
“There was no discussion of anything other than solidarity,” Trump told reporters at the Capitol.
Republican senators said in the meeting they’d stick together to support the wall, according to lawmakers who participated.
“We saw one Republican senator after another express unity — that we would stand together,” said Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said Trump “feels very confident that he’s in a strong negotiating position.”
Trump Warns He May Use Crisis Powers If No Deal (12:42 p.m.)
Trump said his threshold for declaring a national emergency will be “if I can’t make a deal” to fund a border wall.
“We might work a deal and if we don’t I may go that route,” Trump said Wednesday. “I have the absolute right to do national emergency if I want. My threshold will be if I can’t make a deal with people that are unreasonable.”
Trump has asserted he has the authority to declare a national emergency and bypass Congress to fund construction of his wall — a key campaign promise. Democrats have said they would immediately challenge such a move in court.
Trump, in an Oval Office address Tuesday evening, didn’t mention the possibility of using his crisis powers to fund the wall.
He added federal workers who miss paychecks because of the shutdown are “all going to get the money.” Furloughed federal workers aren’t necessarily entitled to missed pay, but Congress has typically passed legislation to pay them for that time when the shutdown ends.
Trump Says He ‘Didn’t Want This Fight’ Over Border (12:17 p.m.)
Trump said he wants “strong barriers” along the southern U.S. border to stem illegal immigration, adding that “a drone isn’t stopping a thousand people from running through.”
The president, speaking to reporters Wednesday in the Oval Office, made the remarks ahead of a 3:00 p.m. meeting with lawmakers, including Democrat leaders who have insisted that technological advances make a wall unnecessary and ineffective.
Trump added that he “didn’t want this fight” with Democrats over funding the wall.
In a December meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Trump said he’d be “proud” to shut down the government if Democrats didn’t bend to his budget demands.
Graham Says There’s ‘a Deal to Be Had’ (11:50 a.m.)
Senator Lindsey Graham said he spoke with Democrats and hopes a broad immigration policy deal emerges this week to end the shutdown.
“There is a deal to be had,” Graham told reporters. “It’s got to be wall-plus.”
He said a deal could include money for a border wall, protection against deportation for thousands of young undocumented immigrants, and Temporary Protected Status for people from countries like El Salvador and Haiti who are in the U.S. legally because of civil turmoil or natural disasters at home.