President Donald Trump and lawmakers from both parties planned to resume negotiations Wednesday to end the partial government shutdown, while the Democratic-led House intended to try again to reopen parts of the federal government.
On the 19th day of the shutdown – now the second longest in U.S. history – Trump has an afternoon meeting at the White House with congressional leaders a day after making a prime time appeal to Democrats to sign onto his $5.7 billion plan for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“This situation could be solved in a 45-minute meeting,” Trump said during his 10-minute address from the Oval Office.
He emphasized his demands again Wednesday morning, ahead of the negotiations.
“We MUST fix our Southern Border!” he wrote in a tweet.
Democratic leaders, saying Trump’s wall would be expensive and ineffective, called on Trump to back their plan to re-open the government now while wall negotiations on border security continue.
Trump “must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must re-open the government,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a televised response to the president’s speech.
Pelosi and Senate Minority Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., are among the Democratic leaders who will be meeting with Trump.
Earlier in the day, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will visit Capitol Hill to meet with Senate Republicans, some of whom have said they would consider the Democratic plan to re-open the government now.
The House will try that plan again Wednesday, though it remains unlikely that the move will be backed by more than a handful of Republicans.
Only seven Republicans voted with Democrats last week to fund eight of the nine shuttered departments.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he will not “waste floor time on show votes” by bringing up a bill that Trump will not sign.
Before Trump addressed the nation Tuesday night, Pence rallied Capitol Hill Republicans to stand firm behind the administration’s demand for the $5.7 billion border wall that the vice president said is needed to address a “humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.”