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3 Jan, 2019 04:48

No end in sight to gov't shutdown as Senate refuses to 'waste time' on House bill

No end in sight to gov't shutdown as Senate refuses to 'waste time' on House bill

The Senate won't even look at the plan House Democrats have drawn up to end the government shutdown because it won't pass Trump's desk without wall funding, according to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.

"The Senate will not waste its time considering a Democratic bill which cannot pass this chamber and which the president will not sign," McConnell said from the Senate floor, confirming that no progress was made in Wednesday's White House meeting beyond a "good discussion" on border security. He dismissed the House Democrats' plan, which provides $1.3 billion for border security with nothing for the wall, as a "total non-starter" and "political performance art."

Trump had summoned the leaders of both parties to the White House in an attempt to force a compromise and end the shutdown, now in its 12th day. They were treated to a presentation on the border situation from the Department of Homeland Security, which left Democrats unmoved – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer flatly said of the border crisis, "we don't think it exists." House Democrats are "not serious" about ending the shutdown, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox News after the meeting.

Trump's team reportedly asked House Democrats if they would agree to budge from the $1.3 billion they've agreed to spend on border security if Trump signed a short-term bill to keep the government open a few more months, but Democrats instead pushed the president to sign a set of bills that would fund the closed parts of the government through the end of the fiscal year and keep the Department of Homeland Security open until February 8, buying more time to negotiate a border security compromise. "This is going to go on for a while," a White House staffer told CNN. 

House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi plans to move ahead with Thursday's vote on the Democrats' wall-less bill regardless of the Senate's plans. "We are asking the president to open up the government," she said after the White House meeting. "We are giving him a Republican path to do that. Why would he not do it?" She insisted that the Democrats' plan is essentially the same as the bill that passed the Senate last month that Trump nearly signed before his conscience – in the form of Ann Coulter – got the better of him. 

Trump invited congressional leaders back to the White House on Friday for a second round of talks. "The United States needs a physical barrier," he said to his Cabinet. "It needs a wall."

"How many more times can we say no? Nothing for the wall," Pelosi told NBC in an interview.

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