Stalemate drags on over border funding, partial government shutdown

A nationwide address by President Donald Trump and a response from top Democrats in the Congress on Tuesday night showed no immediate signs of breaking a partisan standoff over border security funding, leaving open the prospect of a continued partial government shutdown, as some 800,000 federal workers seem more and more likely to miss a scheduled paycheck on Friday.

In the first Oval Office address of his time in office, President Trump pointed the finger of blame at Democrats over the funding impasse over the border, making it clear that he would move to re-open shuttered parts of the government only when Democrats capitulate.

"The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security," Mr. Trump declared.

The Democratic script remained the exact opposite, as their leaders followed the President on television and said the first move should be funding the government fully.

"Mr. President, re-open the government and we can work to resolve our differences over border security. But end this shutdown now," said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.

There was no evidence that anything would change on Wednesday, as Democrats in the House planned a vote on a funding bill which would re-open the Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, and other financial agencies of the federal government.

"President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must re-open the government," said Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Some Republicans in the House and Senate indicated they would break with the President and back bills to re-open the government.

"The President signed a number of bills into law last year that had no money for the wall," said Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who was one of 7 House Republicans to vote last week to end the partial shutdown.

While some GOP lawmakers like Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) were breaking ranks, so far, no wider rebellion had taken hold among Congressional Republicans, as Senate GOP leaders made clear they were not going to allow a vote on any of the House funding bills, insuring that the shutdown would continue.

"So, this is futile, this is fake," said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) of the plans of House Democrats to vote on bills to fund the government.

Vice President Pence met with House GOP lawmakers Tuesday night before the President's speech to urge them to stay on board with the White House; both the President and Vice President will have lunch with GOP Senators on Wednesday to send that same message.

In the Senate on Tuesday, aggravation with the partial shutdown boiled over as Democrats blocked action on a bill dealing with security and U.S. foreign policy matters in the Mideast.

"Our first order of business should be making sure we get the government open," said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), whose state is home to thousands of furloughed federal workers, and contractors have been idled.

"The fact of the matter is these workers don't work for Donald Trump, they work for America," Warner said on the Senate floor.

Wednesday is the 19th day of the partial government shutdown.

President Trump will meet with Congressional leaders at the White House in the afternoon - with little optimism that any deal is near.

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