GOP dismisses suggestion that State of Union be postponed

AFP  Getty Images

AFP Getty Images

The shutdown dragged into its 25th day on Tuesday with neither Trump nor Democratic congressional leaders showing signs of bending on the topic that triggered it - funding for the wall Trump promised to build along the border with Mexico as part of his hardline policy on immigration. But Pelosi is refusing money for the wall she views as ineffective and immoral, and Democrats say they will discuss border security once the government has reopened.

Meanwhile, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Trump to reschedule the annual State of the Union, an address in which the president outlines the administration's goals for the year.

Trump declined to address the stalemate over the speech Thursday during a visit to the Pentagon, simply promising that the nation will have "powerful, strong border security".

Trump has told confidants in recent days that he is determined to secure some sort of concession from Democratic lawmakers for border barrier funding, even if it means a prolonged partial government shutdown, two sources familiar with the president's thinking told TheDC.

But the White House threatened to veto a House bill that would provide $12.1 billion in supplemental funding for national disasters if lawmakers combined it with a separate measure to temporarily reopen shuttered agencies without funding for a border wall, saying such a move would be "unacceptable".

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The shutdown has left approximately 800,000 federal workers without pay.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the House will be in session next week instead of taking a recess week and continue to work on legislation to end the 26-day government shutdown.

The Government Employee Fair Treatment Act (S. 24) passed Congress on January 11, and President Trump had indicated he would sign it once it did.

While Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she has signed, others said GOP support was lacking. Pelosi's office said Congress is already familiar with the percentage of Secret Service and Homeland Security employees who have been furloughed and working without pay. Not one to kowtow to Democrats, or communicate with the written word, Trump may double down on his signature blockbuster spectacle.

But hopes of side deals being cut by the White House seemed unlikely, as did the prospect of groups of senators meeting privately to forge a compromise.

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Federal employees received pay stubs with nothing but zeros on them last week.

It asks the president to agree to open the government up for three weeks to allow a debate "to give Congress time to develop and vote on a bipartisan agreement that addresses your request".

"We're going to stay out for a long time, if we have to", Trump said.

More than 2,000 respondents were asked whether their family had lost any income, expected to lose income or relied on any government services that had been shut down.

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

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Hassett told reporters the White House is doubling its estimate of the strain on the economy of the shutdown, and now calculates that it is slowing growth by about 0.1 percentage points a week. The White House will try again later this week, inviting a bipartisan group of lawmakers known as the Problem Solvers caucus to talks.

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