President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders made little headway at resolving a two-week long government shutdown on Friday, with Trump raising the prospect of a shutdown that could last for months or even years.
The two sides on Friday couldn’t have sounded farther apart, with Trump and GOP leaders casting a meeting at the White House as a constructive bargaining session as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated that almost no progress was made.
“We’re going to be very productive over the weekend. I think some tremendous things will happen,” Trump told reporters Friday after meeting with Democrats in the Situation Room. Yetboth Schumer and Pelosi called the meeting “contentious,” and signaled no hope of an imminent deal to reopen the government after a 14-day funding lapse.
“It’s very hard to see how progress will be made unless they open up the government,” Schumer told reporters, adding that Trump repeatedly “resisted” Democratic attempts to resume federal operations.
Neither side has budged in a dispute over Trump’s demands for billions in border wall money. Democrats want to pass bills reopening the quarter of government that is shuttered and continue negotiations over the border, while Trump and the Senate GOP is insisting on substantial investments in a border barrier as a condition of reopening the government.
Trump said he would be open to negotiations on “Dreamers,” despite failed talks on the same subject that led to last year’s shutdown. In an hour-long, freewheeling press briefing, Trump said he and negotiators would consider the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which helps allow children of undocumented immigrants stay in the country, “at another time.”
“There are a lot of things that can happen with DACA if Democrats want to discuss it,” Trump said.
He also floated the idea of declaring a national emergency to build the wall, saying “I can do it if I want,” though provided few details.
One person familiar with the meeting between Trump and congressional leaders said the president threatened during the meeting to raid other departments, such as the State Department, to pay for the wall.