White House dismisses Democrat plan to end govt shutdown
Washington, Jan 2 : The White House Wednesday rejected a proposal put forward by the opposition Democratic party to end the protracted partial government shutdown, asserting that any plan without a provision for funding US President Donald Trump's long-promised border wall is a "non-starter".
The over 10-day long partial government shutdown starting on December 22 has affected 800,000 federal employees, who have either been furloughed or are working without pay.
President Trump cancelled his planned trip to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida to spend time with family for Christmas and New Year.
Ahead of the start of the new Congress on January 3, in which the Democrats would enjoy majority in the House of Representatives, Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi proposed to end government shutdown which would have reopened all government agencies except for the Department of Homeland Security with full fiscal-year funding until September 30.
"The second bill would extend the Department of Homeland Security's funding through February 8, which is the date the Senate voted for unanimously. It is important to note that these bills contain no new wall funding," Pelosi said in a letter.
The letter came hours after Trump invited top Congressional leaders from both Democratic and the Republican parties for a briefing on border security at the White House on Wednesday.
Trump, who has requested for USD 5.7 billion for the wall, appears to have refused to accept any proposal that does not have provisions for a border wall or border security.
"President Trump made a serious, good faith offer to Democrats to open the government, address the crisis at our border, and protect all Americans. We have heard nothing back from the Democrats, who so far have refused to compromise," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a late-night statement.
"Speaker Designate Nancy Pelosi released a plan that will not re-open the government because it fails to secure the border and puts the needs of other countries above the needs of our own citizens," she said.
"The Pelosi plan is a non-starter because it does not fund our homeland security or keep American families safe from human trafficking, drugs, and crime," Sanders said.
The President's meeting with Congressional leaders on Wednesday is still on, she noted.
"The President has invited Republican and Democrat leaders in Congress to the White House for a border security briefing from senior Department of Homeland Security officials on Wednesday, and he remains committed to reaching an agreement that both reopens the government and keeps Americans safe," Sanders said.
Earlier in the day, Trump accused the Democrats of not being interested in border security.
"One thing has now been proven. The Democrats do not care about Open Borders and all of the crime and drugs that Open Borders bring!" he said in a tweet.
Trump urged the opposition leaders to help in ending the shutdown.
"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?" he said.
Trump has been talking about building a wall along the US-Mexico border ever since his campaign days to stop immigrants from entering America.
Earlier, he said he would be proud to shut down the government over border issues.
The Democrats, however, held firm in their opposition to the wall.