Monday July 6th, 2020 5:17AM

White House tries to hold jittery GOP in line on shutdown

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump was heading to Capitol Hill Wednesday as the White House tried to hold jittery congressional Republicans in line on the 19th day of the partial government shutdown. He said he thought "we're getting closer to a deal" but there little other evidence of an end to the impasse over his demand for billions for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump insisted at the White House he "didn't want this fight." But it was his sudden rejection of a bipartisan spending bill late last month that blindsided leaders in Congress, including Republican allies, now seeking a resolution to the shutdown over his signature campaign issue.

Ahead of his visit to Capitol Hill and another round of talks later Wednesday at the White House, Trump made his cautiously optimistic comment about a possible deal. But he also renewed his notice that he might declare a national emergency and try to authorize the wall on his own if Congress won't approve the $5.7 billion he's asking.

"I think we might work a deal, and if we don't we might go that route," he said.

There's growing concern about the toll the shutdown is taking on everyday Americans, including disruptions in payments to farmers and trouble for home buyers who are seeking government-backed mortgage loans — "serious stuff," according to Sen. John Thune, the No. 2 Senate Republican.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, urged colleagues to approve spending bills that would reopen various agencies, "so that whether it's the Department of the Interior or it is the IRS, those folks can get back to work. I'd like to see that."

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, called the standoff "completely unnecessary and contrived. People expect their government to work. ... This obviously is not working."

Trump was to get a personal sense of the concern —and perhaps questions about his strategy — from those in his own party at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Like other Republicans, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia said she wants border security. But she said there was "no way" the shutdown fight would drag on for years as Trump warned last week.

"I think certainly I have expressed more than a few times the frustrations with a government shutdown and how useless it is," Capito said Tuesday. "That pressure is going to build."

There was no sign Trump was backing down from his demand for $5.7 billion for the border wall in exchange for ending the shutdown. Before heading to Capitol Hill he said he had "tremendous Republican support."

Late in the day, Democratic and Republican congressional leaders were to return to the White House to meet with him and renew negotiations that have shown no apparent progress in the past week.

Democrats said Wednesday they will ask Trump during the meeting to accept an earlier bipartisan bill that had money for border security but not the wall. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that the effects of hundreds of thousands of lost paychecks would begin to ripple across the economy.

"The president could end the Trump shutdown and re-open the government today, and he should," Pelosi said.

Tuesday night, speaking to the nation from the Oval Office for the first time, Trump argued that the wall was needed to resolve a security and humanitarian "crisis." He blamed illegal immigration for what he said was a scourge of drugs and violence in the U.S. and asked: "How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?"

Democrats in response accused Trump appealing to "fear, not facts" and manufacturing a border crisis for political gain.

The White House was trying to shore up GOP support even before Trump spoke. At a private meeting with House Republicans, Vice President Mike Pence cited a C.S. Lewis quote calling courage a virtue, and he said Trump has no plans to retreat.

"That pickup ain't got reverse in it," Pence said, according to people familiar with the conversation.

But a growing number of Republicans are uncomfortable with the toll the partial shutdown is taking, and Trump's response to it. They are particularly concerned about the administration's talk of possibly declaring a national emergency at the border, seeing that as an unprecedented claim on the right of Congress to allocate funding except in the most dire circumstances.

"I prefer that we get this resolved the old-fashioned way," Thune said.

Trump did not mention that idea Tuesday night. A person unauthorized to discuss the situation said additional "creative options" were being considered, including shifting money from other accounts or tapping other executive authorities for the wall.

Trump on Wednesday floated ideas that have been circulated for a broader immigration overhaul. Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham has suggested a compromise that would include wall funding as well as protecting some immigrants from deportation.

Trump addressed the nation as the shutdown stretched through its third week, with hundreds of thousands of federal workers going without pay. He claimed the standoff could be resolved in "45 minutes" if Democrats would just negotiate, but previous meetings have led to no agreement.

For now, Trump sees this as winning politics. His re-election campaign sent out fundraising emails and text messages to supporters trying to raise money off his speech. Their goal: a half-million dollars in a day.

"I just addressed the nation on Border Security. Now need you to stand with me," read one message sent out after his remarks.

In their own televised remarks, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused Trump of misrepresenting the situation on the border as they urged him to reopen closed government departments and turn loose paychecks for federal workers.

Negotiations on wall funding could proceed in the meantime, they said.

Schumer said Trump "just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration."

In his dire address, Trump ticked off a string of statistics and claims to make his case that there is a crisis at the border, but a number of his statements were misleading, such as saying the new trade deal with Mexico would pay for the wall, or suggesting through gruesome examples that immigrants are more likely to commit crimes.

Schumer said Wednesday, "I don't think he persuaded a soul with his talk. ... Same ol', same ol' mistruths, divisiveness."

Trump, who has long railed against illegal immigration at the border, has recently seized on humanitarian concerns to argue there is a broader crisis that can only be solved with a wall. But critics say the security risks are overblown and the administration is at least partly to blame for the humanitarian situation.


Associated Press writers Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, Alan Fram and Deb Riechmann contributed to this report.

For AP's complete coverage of the U.S. government shutdown:

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Business - Personal Finance, AP Business - Real Estate
© Copyright 2020
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Treasury chief to brief House on Russia sanctions decision
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will brief House members on his department's decision to ease sanctions on companies linked to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska
10:56AM ( 14 minutes ago )
White House tries to hold jittery GOP in line on shutdown
White House tries to hold jittery GOP in line over wall, government shutdown
10:54AM ( 15 minutes ago )
AP source: Rosenstein expected to leave Justice in weeks
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave his position soon after William Barr is confirmed as attorney general
10:53AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Georgia man tells police R. Kelly's manager threatened him
A Georgia man involved with a recent documentary detailing abuse allegations against R. Kelly told police the singer's manager threatened him
10:13AM ( 56 minutes ago )
Stocks rise along with optimism over US-China trade talks
US, China wrap up talks on tariff battle after Trump says they are 'going very well!' but no details immediately released
10:02AM ( 1 hour ago )
Democrats: Trump using misinformation, malice in wall debate
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi say President Donald Trump is trying to "stoke fear" in seeking a U.S.-Mexico border wall and America's symbol "should be the Statute of Liberty, not a 30-foot wall."
9:28AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
US, China end talks on tariff battle with no word on outcome
US, China wrap up talks on tariff battle after Trump says they are 'going very well!' but no details immediately released
6:24AM ( 4 hours ago )
Democrats: Trump relies on fear and malice in wall debate
Top congressional Democrats say Trump chooses 'fear' in his drive to build a southern border wall
5:39AM ( 5 hours ago )
Trump links drugs, violent crime to lack of border wall
President Donald Trump uses his prime-time address from the Oval Office to urge congressional Democrats to fund his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall
5:33AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Family of woman in vegetative state outraged after baby born
Police have served a search warrant Tuesday to get DNA from all male employees at a long-term care facility in Phoenix where a patient who had been in a vegetative state for years gave birth
1:58AM ( 9 hours ago )
Los Angeles teachers are ready for first strike in 30 years
Teachers in Los Angeles are ready to strike Thursday over a contract dispute that follows teacher walkouts in other states that emboldened organized labor
1:19AM ( 9 hours ago )
Fate of IS fighters captured in Syria a lingering question
No easy answers for deciding fate of hundreds of IS fighters captured in Syria
1:18AM ( 9 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Showdown looms as UK lawmakers clash over May's Brexit deal
The British government is bringing its little-loved Brexit deal back to Parliament, a month after postponing a vote on the agreement to stave off near-certain defeat
10:00AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: UK lawmakers defeat May on Brexit timetable
A top European Parliament leader is appealing to lawmakers in London to show "responsibility" as they resume consideration of Britain's divorce deal with the European Union
9:45AM ( 1 hour ago )
Italy's Salvini seeks to build new European order with Poles
Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has vowed to work with Poland to create an EU that is less bureaucratic and more focused on keeping out migrants
9:25AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Trump pleads on TV for wall money; Dems say he 'stokes fear'
President Donald Trump argues funding for his long-promised border wall is needed on security and humanitarian grounds; he gets intense pushback from Democrats
11:32PM ( 11 hours ago )
Top Democrats say Trump 'has chosen fear' in border battle
Top congressional Democrats say President Donald Trump "has chosen fear" in his drive to build a southern border wall and are calling on him to reopen the government shuttered because of the standoff over his demand for money for the barrier
10:57PM ( 12 hours ago )
Colorado's Jared Polis makes history as gay governor
Democrat Jared Polis' inauguration as the first openly gay U.S. governor firmly moved Colorado to a darker shade of blue as he vowed to expand health care, pursue publicly funded preschool and protect the environment
10:23PM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Global stocks sustain rally as US-China trade talks wrap up
Stocks around the world built on their early 2019 rally Wednesday after negotiators from the U.S. and China extended their round of trade talks to a third day
10:08AM ( 1 hour ago )
EU Medicines Agency starts shift to Amsterdam before Brexit
The European Union's Medicines Agency has started shifting its work from London to Amsterdam in a concrete consequence of Britain's looming departure from the bloc
10:02AM ( 1 hour ago )
Russian lawyer in Trump probe denies US charges against her
The Russian lawyer at the heart of the investigation into possible collusion between President Donald Trump's election campaign and Russia has rejected the U.S. charges leveled against her
8:37AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Mayor says NYC will expand health coverage to 600,000 people
Mayor Bill de Blasio says New York City will spend up to $100 million per year to expand health care coverage to people without insurance, including immigrants in the U.S. illegally
4:43PM ( 18 hours ago )
Washington governor pushes public health insurance statewide
Washington Gov. and likely presidential candidate Jay Inslee is proposing a public health insurance option for state residents
3:13PM ( 19 hours ago )
Defense: Other partner killed McStays, buried them in desert
Prosecutors say greed, debt and a gambling problem led a man to kill his business partner and his family, then bury them in the Southern California desert
11:51PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Personal Finance
With Brexit 12 weeks away, uncertainty squeezing UK economy
With Britain just 12 weeks away from leaving the European Union, one thing is becoming clear _ uncertainty over what Brexit will mean is hurting the economy.
9:52AM ( 5 days ago )
AP Business - Real Estate
Storm kills Syrian girl in Lebanon, causes widespread damage
A storm packing snow and rain that has battered Lebanon for five days has left an 8-year-old Syrian girl dead, flooded neighborhoods and paralyzed major mountain roads
10:42AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Problem of captured IS fighters grows as US plans Syria exit
No easy answers for deciding fate of hundreds of IS fighters captured in Syria
10:34AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Germany, France set to sign new cooperation accord
Germany and France are set to sign a new bilateral treaty pledging deeper cooperation between the two leading European Union powers
10:16AM ( 54 minutes ago )
The Latest: WH tries to keep Hill Republicans from defecting
The White House is trying to keep jittery congressional Republicans from defecting over the toll the partial government shutdown is taking in their states
10:14AM ( 56 minutes ago )
Global stocks sustain rally as US-China trade talks wrap up
Stocks around the world built on their early 2019 rally Wednesday after negotiators from the U.S. and China extended their round of trade talks to a third day
10:08AM ( 1 hour ago )