Trump Stands by Wall Money Demand as Democrats Plan New Funding Bills

Daniel Ochoa de Olza | AP

Daniel Ochoa de Olza | AP

With the partial government shutdown dragging into its third week, President Donald Trump on Sunday headed to Camp David for a White House staff retreat at which border security and other topics are on the agenda.

"We are now planning a steel barrier rather than concrete (wall)".

Trump's recent remarks about a possible emergency declaration appear to reiterate remarks he made days ago at a January 4 open press conference in the Rose Garden. "Second meeting set for tomorrow", Trump said on Twitter. It is both stronger & less obtrusive.

Responding to a question, Trump said the opposition Democrats did not like the option of a concrete wall along the Mexico border, so he has offered them with a steel one.

"I think we'll have to build a steel wall, as opposed to a concrete wall", he said.

"Many of those people that won't be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I am doing", Trump said on Sunday.

Trump told reporters the steel barrier would "give us great strength".

In a press conference in the Rose Garden afterward, Trump confirmed he "absolutely" said he'd keep the government shuttered that long.

"Look, if (President) Harry Truman couldn't nationalize the steel industry during wartime, this president doesn't have the power to declare an emergency and build a multi-billion dollar wall on the border", Congressman Adam Schiff said on CNN.

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- $5.7 billion for what is now called a "steel barrier" for the Southwest Border (which is an increase of $4.1 billion over the Senate funding). There are strong restrictions on the United States military and its funding being deployed for domestic, non-defense purposes, though emergency laws sometimes permit it.

In a letter to congressional leaders on Sunday detailing its funding demands, the Trump administration included a request for an additional US$800 million to address urgent humanitarian needs at the southern border.

President Donald Trump told a White House reporter on Sunday that he can empathize with government employees who are experiencing financial hardships due to the ongoing shutdown. But a Democratic aide familiar with the meeting said Democrats urged the White House to pass measures to reopen the government without wall funding and Mr Pence said Mr Trump would not do that.

Trump said Friday that the standoff could last "months or even years".

President Trump said Sunday that he can "relate" to the plight of hundreds of thousands of federal workers anxious about having to get by without paychecks if the shutdown continues, though critics wondered if the president really had any comparable life experiences.

Sanders says Trump is "not going to stop" until he figures out the best way to protect US citizens and that "whatever action he takes will certainly be lawful".

"The Democrats, for better or worse, think they are winning this battle politically", Mulvaney said.

Administration members Vice President Pence, son-in-law Jared Kushner and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen met with aides to congressional Democratic leaders on Saturday, but didn't reach any consensus. And he claimed, without evidence, that some ex-presidents had told him to push for the wall.

All the while, about 800,000 federal workers remained without pay, either at home or on the job, and key government services faced increasing strain and closure.

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