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Trump Invites Congressional Leaders To White House Meeting


With the partial government shutdown entering its twelfth day, President Donald Trump has invited congressional leaders to the White House for a meeting Wednesday afternoon.

The meeting would be the first between Trump and top Republican and Democratic lawmakers since the shutdown began on December 22nd.

The invitees are said to include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and incoming House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and incoming House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., have also reportedly been invited.

A report from Fox News said the meeting will be held in the White House Situation Room in an effort to underscore the urgency of addressing problems at the U.S. border with Mexico.

The meeting comes as lawmakers remain at an impasse over the issue of funding for Trump's controversial border wall.

Democrats are due to take control of the House on Thursday and intend to move forward with plans to reopen the government without providing funding for the wall.

House Democrats are likely to pass legislation that includes six full-year appropriations bills as well as a continuing resolution to fund the Department of Homeland Security until February 8th.

The legislation would provide $1.3 billion for border security, well below the $5 billion that Trump has demanded for construction of the wall.

The White House has rejected the legislation, however, with White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders calling the plan a "non-starter."

"Speaker Designate Nancy Pelosi released a plan that will not re-open the government because it fails to secure the border and puts the needs of other countries above the needs of our own citizens," Sanders said in a statement.

McConnell has previously indicated the Senate will not vote on legislation that does not have the support of the president.

In a joint statement on Monday, Pelosi and Schumer said McConnell and Senate Republicans would be complicit with Trump in continuing the shutdown if they refuse to support the bill.

"It would be the height of irresponsibility and political cynicism for Senate Republicans to now reject the same legislation they have already supported," Pelosi and Schumer said.

They added, "Once the Senate passes this legislation and puts us on a path to reopening government, the President must come to his senses and immediately sign it into law."

Trump has claimed there cannot be "real border security" without a wall but suggested he is willing to make a deal with Democrats.

"Border Security and the Wall 'thing' and Shutdown is not where Nancy Pelosi wanted to start her tenure as Speaker! Let's make a deal?" Trump said in a post on Twitter on Tuesday.

Trump promised throughout his presidential campaign that Mexico would pay for the border wall and now claims the wall would be funded through a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada.

"Mexico is paying for the Wall through the new USMCA Trade Deal. Much of the Wall has already been fully renovated or built. We have done a lot of work," Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

He added, "$5.6 Billion Dollars that House has approved is very little in comparison to the benefits of National Security. Quick payback!"

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