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Shutdown negotiations disintegrate at heated White House meeting

Trump spars with Democrats over shutdown
Trump spars with Democrats in talks to end shutdown 03:18

Washington — With the government shutdown reaching its 19th day and on track to become longest ever, Wednesday's already anemic negotiations disintegrated after President Trump stormed out of White House talks with congressional leaders. The speaker of the House called the president "petulant" as both sides dug in on funding Mr. Trump's border wall and hundreds of thousands of government workers prepare to go without a paycheck Friday.

Democrats walked into the White House Wednesday afternoon only to stumble out a short time later.

"Our meeting did not last long," Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters.

Democrats said Mr. Trump abruptly ended their talks Wednesday, and he didn't dispute it.

Mr. Trump tweeted the meeting was "a total waste of time ... I said bye-bye."

"He sort of slammed the table, and when Leader Pelosi said she didn't agree with the wall, [Mr. Trump] walked out and said, 'We have nothing to discuss,'" Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

With 800,000 federal workers due to miss their first paycheck Friday, the two sides couldn't even agree on what went wrong.

Mr. Trump is holding out for $5.7 billion in border wall funding, which he says is a matter of life and death. That's despite the number of people caught trying to cross illegally is near 20-year lows.

Mr. Trump was asked if illegal immigration at the border has gone down, why is it a crisis now?

"You know why it's gone down? Because of good management, because of me and my people, because we've managed it well," Mr. Trump responded. "It is brutal. We have more people coming up. You have caravans, nobody ever heard of a caravan."

Mr. Trump visited the Capitol Wednesday to urge Senate Republicans to stick with him. A small but growing number don't want to hold up funding for more than half a dozen federal agencies while the wall fight drags on.

"It was a vigorous discussion," Sen. Susan Collins, R-Wyoming, said Wednesday. She also said she raised concerns with the commander-in-chief.

Mr. Trump denied his party support is slipping.

"We have great Republican support, as you know," the president said. "You are just making that up."

Mr. Trump insisted many furloughed federal workers want him to persevere.

"So many of those people are saying, 'It's very hard for me, it's very hard for my family, but president, you're doing right thing. Get it done,'" he claimed.

A couple dozen federal workers met with Democratic leaders Wednesday and said they can't afford to go without pay.

"Again, this is another example of the president being almost delusionary about what it is," Pelosi said. "He says that to us, 'Oh that workers are calling me saying, I'll stay out without a paycheck as long as it takes.' And it's like, well, who? Give us names. Name names. But the fact is, it's not right."

"No talk about a larger strategy" on border security in Trump speech, Townsend says 03:31

Also Wednesday, the House approved a bill to fund the Treasury Department, the IRS and other agencies for the next year as part of a Democratic strategy to reopen the government on a piecemeal basis. 

The Democratic-controlled House voted 240-188 to approve the funding bill, which also would reopen the Federal Communications Commission, the Small Business Administration and the federal judiciary, among other agencies. 

Eight Republicans joined 232 Democrats to support the bill, which is almost certainly dead on arrival in the Senate, since the White House threatened to veto any individual spending bills.

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