The White House and Capitol Hill appear no closer to a deal after a meeting with President Trump, Democrats and Republicans in the Situation Room on the 12th day of the partial government shutdown Wednesday.
There is no clear pathway to ending the shutdown, with Democrats insisting they don't want to fund the president's proposed border wall, and Mr. Trump demanding his wall be funded — although he's been unclear on exactly what he would sign. When Democrats' first day in control of the House begins Thursday,to reopen the government. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he won't bring a bill to the floor until he knows the president will sign it. Incoming House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Mr. Trump invited them back to the White House on Friday, after leadership races are set in stone. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, presumptive incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats attended the White House meeting Wednesday.
"We had a long discussion, the president asked us to come back on Friday after the leadership races I think that was a concern for some people to be able to get through," McCarthy told reporters Wednesday. "We never did get through the complete briefing from the secretary of homeland which we are concerned about because we do have a crisis on the border right now. We had a violent mob rush yesterday where we had a challenge there but we know that we have a challenge along the border. We want to solve that issue we want to make sure we open this government up."
Schumer said Mr. Trump couldn't give him a good answer when asked why the president wouldn't support Democratic legislation to reopen the government.
"We asked the president to support the bills that we support that will open up government," Schumer said. "We asked him to give us one good reason. I asked him directly, I said, Mr. President, give me one good reason why you should continue your shutdown of the eight Cabinet departments while we are debating our differences on homeland security. He could not give a good answer. So, we would hope that they would reconsider and would support the very bills that passed the Senate."
A White House official told CBS News the general sentiment in the room was that it would be easier to continue discussions after Pelosi's leadership election on Friday. Pelosi told NBC News in an interview that will air Thursday she will not approve any legislation that includes border wall funding, a sticking point for Mr. Trump.
The White House official said Mr. Trump started off the meeting, then handed it to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to begin her briefing on border security and illegal immigration. Shortly into the briefing, according to the official, Nielsen was interrupted when Schumer whispered to Pelosi and Pelosi objected to what was being discussed. The official, Pelosi said, took issue with basic figures Nielsen presented, such as the number of criminal illegal immigrants who attempted to cross the border last year.
But when Schumer asked Mr. Trump, according to a source familiar with what happened in the room, why he wouldn't support the legislation funding non-Department of Homeland Security agencies to reopen much of the government, the president didn't offer a reason. When Schumer pressed Mr. Trump a third time for a good reason to not re-open the agencies, Mr. Trump responded, "I would look foolish if I did that," the source said.
The Situation Room, intended for highly classified material, is by nature closed to the press, meaning there were no televised theatrics like the infamous meeting in December when Mr. Trump told Schumer and Pelosi he would beover border security.