Trump Meeting With Border Officials As Dems Continue Holdout

Another day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer hold out on passing $5 billion for border wall funding, another day the federal shutdown continues.

President Trump has met with the Democrat Party leaders several times since the government closed in December, to no avail. Their meeting on Wednesday, where the trio was expected to discuss how they would fund the government, also reportedly ended without any progress.

In a tweet, Trump said that shortly after the meeting began, he asked one question, then immediately turned and walked out after he heard their answer.

The president asked if the Democratic leaders were finally willing to allocate money to the border wall and when they said “No,” Trump did not wish to waste any more of his time.

“Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday afternoon. “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!”

As the Associated Press reports, President Trump will be heading to the southern border on Thursday after the failed negotiation from the day before.

Here’s more:

Trump will be stopping in McAllen, Texas, where he’s expected to visit a border patrol station and stop at a section of the border.

Uncertainty over federal funding for transportation projects is forcing some states to delay contracts for new road and bridge work while others are preparing for that possibility.

The Food and Drug Administration says routine food inspections aren’t getting done during the shutdown, but checks of the riskiest foods are expected to resume next week.

The longest shutdown ever was 21 days that stretched from December 1995 into January 1996, when Bill Clinton was president.

As the shutdown is in its 20th day, it is expected to pass the 1995-1996 stretch and become the longest federal shutdown in U.S. history. There is no end in sight as the  abrupt end to Wednesday’s meeting showed the two opposing sides are still not remotely close to an agreement.

Here’s even more from the Associated Press:

Nine of the 15 Cabinet-level departments have not been funded, including Agriculture , Homeland Security, State, Transportation, Interior and Justice. Some iconic National Park facilities are shuttered as are the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo in Washington. Nearly everyone at NASA is being told to stay home, as are most at the Internal Revenue Service, which is responsible for processing tax returns and issuing refunds, though the administration says tax refunds will go out during the shutdown.

While the idea of a solid concrete wall has mostly been abandoned, Trump is still seeking more than $5 billion to build a “new physical barrier” that stretches 234 miles along the border, USA Today reports.

And:

Trump is expected to take part in a roundtable and receive a briefing from border officials. The president has also granted an interview to Fox News, which the network said will air Thursday night.

Hanging over Trump’s visit to the border are questions about whether he will declare a national emergency, a move that would allow him to redirect defense money for a wall but that would almost certainly trigger court challenges. An emergency declaration could give Trump an off ramp to reopen the government but continue to fight for the wall.

Even as polls suggest a slim majority of Americans blame Trump more than Democrats for the shutdown, now the second-longest in U.S. history, the president has stuck to his demand for a wall, which was the focus of his first formal Oval Office address Tuesday.

Those same polls show that a majority of Republicans back Trump on the wall.

As the Star Tribune reports, Trump could use the meeting at the border to call for a national emergency. Doing so would make funds available for the construction of a new border wall.

Asked about a national emergency declaration, Trump said as he left the White House for Texas, “I’m not prepared to do that yet, but if I have to I will.” He contends such a declaration would allow him to direct the military to begin wall construction.

“So we’re either going to have a win, make a compromise —because I think a compromise is a win for everybody— or I will declare a national emergency,” he said.

It’s not clear what a compromise might entail. Trump says he won’t reopen the government without money for the wall. Democrats say they favor measures to bolster border security but oppose the long, impregnable walling that Trump envisions. He is asking $5.7 billion for wall construction.