WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump and top Democrats in Congress sparred over the partial shutdown of the U.S. government on Monday, with no sign of tangible efforts to re-open agencies closed by an impasse over Trump’s demand for funds for a border wall.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, accused Trump of being under the sway of conservative House Republicans and blasted the White House for saying “different things about what the president would accept or not accept.”
“It’s Christmas Eve and President Trump is plunging the country into chaos,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement as the shutdown dragged through its third day.
“Meanwhile, different people from the same White House are saying different things about what the president would accept or not accept to end his Trump Shutdown, making it impossible to know where they stand at any given moment,” they said.
Trump, who canceled plans to go to his Florida resort on Friday for Christmas because of the shutdown, was scheduled to discuss border security with U.S. homeland security officials on Monday afternoon.
Earlier he said on Twitter that he was “all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security.”
Each side has blamed the other for the shutdown, with no sign of renewed negotiations between lawmakers on Capitol Hill or with the White House.
On Sunday, a top Trump aide said the shutdown could continue to Jan. 3, when the new Congress convenes, with Democrats taking majority control in the House.
Funding for about one-quarter of federal government programs – including the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Agriculture – expired at midnight on Friday.
Without a deal to break the impasse over Trump’s demand for $5 billion for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, the shutdown is likely to stretch into the new year.
Building the wall was one of Trump’s most frequently repeated campaign promises but Democrats are vehemently opposed to it.
Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Trott