President Trump will meet with congressional leaders on Wednesday at the White House, the first time he’s invited Democrats to talk with him face-to-face since he declared he’d be “proud” to shut down the government in early December.
The meeting comes on the twelfth day of the government shutdown, after party leaders engaged in little negotiation over the holiday period. The talks will occur just one day before Democrats officially take control of the House as the new Congress is ushered in.
House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are confirmed for the afternoon meeting, their offices told TPM.
The White House plans to have the Department of Homeland Security give briefings about border security as Trump continues to demand more than $5 billion to begin construction on his long-demanded wall on the border with Mexico.
That doesn’t sound much like a serious negotiation offer, however, and both sides appear to remain firmly dug in against a compromise. Trump continues to insist on money for the wall, and Democrats have zero inclination to give him that. The House plans to vote on a package of bills Thursday that would fully fund most government agencies through September, and extend funding for the DHS for more than a month to continue negotiations. That’s the plan the Senate passed unanimously before the winter holidays, though Senate GOP leaders likely don’t want to pass it again in the new Congress if Trump is unwilling to sign it into law.
The White House invited the top four leaders in each party to the briefing: Pelosi, House Majority Leader-designate Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Minority Leader-designate Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Minority Whip-designate Steve Scalise (R-LA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Majority Whip-designate John Thune (R-SD), Schumer and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL).
The meeting comes amidst a continuous public back-and-forth between Trump and congressional Democratic leaders, who will have significantly more leverage starting Thursday when they seize control of the House.
Trump tweeted this plea on Wednesday:
Border Security and the Wall “thing” and Shutdown is not where Nancy Pelosi wanted to start her tenure as Speaker! Let’s make a deal?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2019
.@realDonaldTrump has given Democrats a great opportunity to show how we will govern responsibly & quickly pass our plan to end the irresponsible #TrumpShutdown – just the first sign of things to come in our new Democratic Majority committed to working #ForThePeople. https://t.co/CGl1euCotB
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) January 1, 2019