15, January 2019
US President Donald Trump has reiterated his demand for border wall funding as the partial government shutdown enters its 25th day.
Trump again urged Congress on Monday to give him the money to build his long-promised wall along the US-Mexican border.
Speaking at an American Farm Bureau convention in New Orleans, Trump rejected a Republican call for temporarily reopening shuttered US government agencies in order to encourage negotiations with Democrats on border security issues.
Democrats, who control the House, have rejected Trump’s $5.7 billion demand for a border wall.
He threatened to continue with the government shutdown for as long as it takes to get Congress’ approval for the wall funding across the southern border with Mexico.
On the other side of the argument, Democrats say that there are cheaper and more effective ways than a wall to strengthen border security.
They have offered to give Trump $1.3 billion in new border security funds this year to help pay for a range of high-tech and other tools to enhance security at the southern border.
Constructing a wall along the US-Mexican border could cost way above $25 billion, according to Trump’s critics in the Democratic Party.
In the meantime, Trump was scheduled to meet members of Congress for lunch at the White House on Tuesday.
It was not announced who would be at the lunch; however, media reports cited unnamed sources as saying a group of more moderate lawmakers from the Democratic Party had been invited.
Until now Democratic lawmakers, who make up the majority of the House, have rejected Trump’s demand for funding Trump’s “big, beautiful wall”.
In an effort to restart talks with Democrats, on Sunday the powerful Judiciary Committee’s new chairman, South Carolinian Senator Lindsey Graham urged Trump to reopen the government for a short period of time.
Temporarily reopening the government and then holding talks is an idea that the Democrats support.
The partial shutdown, which affects about 800,000 federal workers, has been the longest shutdown in the history of the United States.