GOP dismisses suggestion that State of Union be postponed

Joshua Roberts  Reuters

Joshua Roberts Reuters

The bill, which went down 237-187, was brought to the floor in an aim to pressurise the Republicans to back away from US President Donald Trump's demand for the funding of the wall on the Mexico border, amid the partial government shutdown, that has now entered its record 25th day, The Hill reported.

Doug Collins says that Democrats can not negotiate a border security deal because Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Senate minority leader will not allow it. Chris Coons of DE are leading a renewed effort to persuade Trump to let the government reopen for three weeks in return for a commitment from lawmakers to try to address his concerns about border security in that period.

The Department of Homeland Security has estimated that $5 billion would pay for 375 kilometers (234 miles) of a "new physical barrier" on the southern border with Mexico that stretches more than 3,100 kilometers (just under 2,000 miles).

Around one-quarter of all US government departments have been affected, with approximately 800,000 federal employees furloughed or working unpaid.

The White House invited rank-and-file lawmakers to lunch with Trump at the White House as part of a strategy to build support from centrist Democrats and newly elected freshmen, including those from areas where the president is popular with voters.

Even as administration officials projected confidence in their course, Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said Tuesday the shutdown is slowing growth more than predicted.

If Trump opted for the latter, this would be by far the best thing to come out of the shutdown.

While Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she has signed, others said GOP support was lacking.

Snow storm marches toward Washington, after pummeling Midwest
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Trump wrote a letter to Pelosi on Thursday informing her that her trip had been postponed and would be rescheduled after the shutdown.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had raised eyebrows among the USA diplomatic corps last week when he proclaimed that morale at the State Department was "good" despite the shutdown and the fact that 40 percent of its employees in the US and almost 23 percent overseas had been furloughed and the rest were working without pay. Democrats, he said, have turned Trump's wall into "something evil" and it's time to get the country off the "political carousel" of the shutdown fight.

Congress is planning to skip next week's planned recess if the partial government shutdown continues.

President Trump was scheduled to give the annual State of the Union address on January 29th.

The White House estimates that the shutdown will likely reduce quarterly U.S. GDP by 0.1 percent every two weeks that it continues. An administration official said they were prepared to craft it around the government shutdown, targeting Democrats, if it was still closed by then. He said both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence "spent a lot of time" with the Democrats, calling the talks "very sensible discussions that involved listening and speaking". "We accepted the White House's invitation to meet today to convey that message".

The Jan. 8-14 national opinion poll found that 51 percent of US adults blame Trump, about the same proportion as a similar poll that ran in the first week of January.

"The President and his team had a constructive meeting with bipartisan members of the problem solvers caucus".

We as the legislative branch have the power to end this shutdown now.

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