Trump to meet lawmakers at White House as shutdown enters 25th day

US President Donald Trump stands with US vice-president Mike Pence as he welcomes the 2018 College Football Playoff National Champion Clemson Tigers at the White House in Washington, January 14, 2019. — Reuters pic
US President Donald Trump stands with US vice-president Mike Pence as he welcomes the 2018 College Football Playoff National Champion Clemson Tigers at the White House in Washington, January 14, 2019. — Reuters pic

WASHINGTON, Jan 15 — President Donald Trump will meet members of Congress at the White House today as the partial US government shutdown enters a 25th day without resolution amid a standoff over border wall funding.

Trump is scheduled to host the lawmakers for lunch, according to his public schedule, which did not say who was attending. Moderate House Democrats were invited, CNN and Politico reported.

Representatives for the White House and congressional leaders did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Neither Trump nor Democratic leaders in Congress have shown signs of bending on wall funding but the Washington Post yesterday reported a new bipartisan group of U.S. senators is searching for an agreement that could help end the partial shutdown.

Trump, who has demanded US$5.7 billion (RM23.3 billion) from Congress to build his long-promised wall along the US-Mexican border, yesterday rejected a call by fellow Republicans to temporarily reopen the government while talks continue on border security issues.

He campaigned in 2016 on a promise of building a wall to stop illegal immigration and drug trafficking, and more recently raised the possibility of declaring a national emergency to go around Congress to secure funding for the wall. In recent days, however, he has said that he would prefer Congress to act.

Democrats, who took over the US House of Representatives this month, have rejected the border wall but back other border security measures.

House Democrats have passed a number of bills to fund the roughly one-quarter of federal operations that have been closed, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, has said the chamber will not consider legislation that Trump will not sign into law.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer yesterday called on McConnell to move forward, suggesting that Congress go around the president.

The partial shutdown is the longest in US history and its effects have begun to reverberate across the country.

Longer lines have formed at some airports as more security screeners fail to show up for work while food and drug inspections have been curtailed and farmers, stung by recent trade spats, have been unable to receive federal aid.

The shutdown began on December 22 and its impact is worrying some on Wall Street. Roughly 800,000 federal employees are feeling the financial sting after missing their first paycheck last week, a loss of income expected to have ripple effects.

Speaking on CNBC, Delta Air Lines Inc chief executive officer Ed Bastian said the partial shutdown will cost the airline US$25 million in lost revenue in January because fewer government contractors are traveling.

Other US airlines also are not able to open new routes or use new airplanes because they need certification from federal officials who are furloughed.

A number of companies, already concerned about a global economic uncertainty, also have urged Republicans and Democrats to end the stalemate in Washington. — Reuters