Graham weighs in on Trump-Pelosi shutdown spat

18 January, 2019, 10:57 | Author: Kevin Carter
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Trump wrote a letter to Pelosi on Thursday informing her that her trip had been postponed and would be rescheduled after the shutdown.

To try to take some of the sting out of the shutdown, Trump planned to sign on Wednesday the "Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019", which is legislation that would ensure that those federal workers furloughed will receive backpay once the shutdown is over.

Trump is trying to get congressional Democrats to agree to as much as $5 billion in additional funding for the President's signature campaign promise of a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking to move the day of the State of the Union address or deliver it in writing, citing security concerns from the ongoing government shutdown.

The shutdown began on December 22, after Trump insisted he would not sign legislation funding a quarter of government agencies unless it included more than $5bn for a wall along the USA border with Mexico.

She reiterated how she wanted the presidential State of the Union address scheduled for January 29 postponed until the shutdown ends.

Before Pelosi's letter, the White House was pushing forward with planning for the annual address.

Earlier, the House passed a Democratic measure to reopen the government through to February 8 and provide 14 billion dollars (£10 billion) in emergency spending for recent hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters.

The bill was approved 237-187 on Wednesday, mostly along party lines, but appears dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled Senate.

There was no immediate response from the White House. The lawmakers are not part of Democratic leadership, which has been leading congressional negotiations, and are rank-and-file members mostly hailing from more moderate congressional districts.

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It's the first group of rank-and-file Democrats to meet with Trump during the shutdown, which stretched into its 26th day Wednesday.

He says she should stay in Washington to negotiate ways to end the shutdown, which is at a stalemate over federal funding for his desired border wall.

Pelosi says the federal employees required to secure the event in the House of Representatives should be paid for the work.

But hopes of side deals being cut by the White House seemed unlikely, as did the prospect of groups of senators meeting privately to forge a compromise.

Postponing the address would deny Mr Trump the opportunity to make a case for his border wall in a prime-time televised address. Alternatively, Trump could simply submit a written statement in lieu of an in-person speech, noted Pelosi.

The shutdown has affected a quarter of federal agencies with about 800,000 federal workers furloughed or working without pay as a result.

The government has been shut down since the end of past year after Democrats refused Trump's demand for $5 billion in taxpayer funding to build his wall.

FILE - Border wall prototypes stand in San Diego, California, near the U.S. -Mexico border, as seen from Tijuana, Mexico, Dec. 22, 2018.

"We believe that such requests deserve consideration, through regular order, a process we support", the draft letter continues.

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