The partial U.S. government shutdown reached its 17th day Monday with President Donald Trump retaining his demand for money to build a border wall and House Democrats preparing votes on new bills aimed at opening shuttered agencies.
As a new work week began in the United States, several hundred thousand government workers remained at home while hundreds of thousands more are continuing to report for work with no idea when they will receive their next paycheck.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week she will hold votes on individual spending bills to re-open closed agencies. She said the priority would be the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service, “an action necessary to make sure working families received their tax refunds on schedule.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected a previous House package that would have funded most of the agencies through the end of September and the Department of Homeland Security for a month to allow for further border security negotiations. McConnell called the plan a “non-starter.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called on McConnell to bring the new set of bills to a vote once they pass the House.
“They are essentially the same funding bills that the Republican Senate wrote and approved by a 92-6 margin during the last Congress,” Hoyer said in a statement Sunday.
Democrats have previously offered to approve $1.3 billion for border security methods, but not the more than $5 billion Trump desires for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the wall would be an ineffective and expensive effort.
Trump insists the wall is needed to stop people from illegally crossing into the country from Mexico, as well as preventing drug trafficking and terrorism.
He praised a meeting Sunday between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic officials about border security, and said that if Democrats are willing to make a deal, one could be reached “in 20 minutes if they want to.”
Otherwise, Trump said, the shutdown is “going to go on for a long time.”
The president says he is considering declaring a national emergency that would allow him to build a wall without congressional approval — a move some Democrats say would be challenged in the courts.
“Look, if (President) Harry Truman couldn’t nationalize the steel industry during wartime, this president doesn’t have the power to declare an emergency and build a multi-billion dollar wall on the border,” Congressman Adam Schiff said on CNN.