In the wake of President Trump’s nationally televised plea for his long-promised border wall, both he and Democratic congressional leaders are digging in Wednesday as the partial government shutdown continues with no end in sight.
House Democrats passed a bill that would reopen the Treasury Department and ensure that the Internal Revenue Service would remain funded as tax season kicks off and millions of taxpayers begin to file their returns.
Eight House Republicans voted in favor of the bill, defying the president’s pleas for unity. But the measure has no path to passage, as Trump has said he opposes any legislation that does not include funding for the border wall.
The vote comes on the eve of a visit by Trump to the U.S.-Mexico border.
A meeting at the White House between Trump and congressional leaders earlier Wednesday ended quickly after Democratic leaders said they would not fund Trump’s wall. The meeting represented the first face-to-face talks for both sides since last week.
Trump visited Capitol Hill in the afternoon to shore up support among Senate Republicans, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) held an event with furloughed federal workers, and lawmakers from the Washington area sought to highlight the negative impact of the shutdown with union leaders.
Both sides are focused on making their cases as the 19th day of the shutdown continues.
5:10 p.m. Eight Republicans break ranks as House votes to reopen Treasury without new border wall funds
The House passed a bill Wednesday evening that would reopen the Treasury Department and ensure that the IRS would remain funded.
The measure passed on a 240 to 188 vote, with eight Republicans breaking ranks to vote in favor of the bill. A handful of Republicans also joined Democrats last week in voting for the measure as part of a broader package.
The legislation has no current path to passage. Trump has said he will not sign legislation reopening the government unless it includes taxpayer funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border — and both Trump and Vice President Pence have visited the Capitol this week urging GOP lawmakers to vote down any such Democratic proposals.
4:45 p.m. Washington area officials write joint letter calling for end to shutdown
Top local elected officials from the Washington area wrote a joint letter to Trump and congressional leaders urging a rapid reopening of the federal government, saying the partial shutdown was “causing unnecessary harm to our citizens, businesses and the regional economy.”
The letter, from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, or COG, said the shutdown was hurting small businesses and tourism in the region, in addition to federal workers and contractors who aren’t receiving paychecks.
“If the shutdown continues, impacts will be compounded on state and local budgets,” the letter said. It was addressed to Trump, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
COG comprises 24 jurisdictions in the Washington region, which has the highest concentration of federal employees and contractors in the nation.
According to figures provided at a COG board meeting by Executive Director Chuck Bean, the shutdown is affecting about 145,000 of the 361,000 federal workers in the region. Of those, slightly more than half are working without pay, and the remainder are furloughed and not working, he said.
About 43 percent of the region’s federal workers live in Northern Virginia, compared to 42 percent in suburban Maryland and 15 percent in the District.
4:30 p.m. White House weighs canceling Trump’s Davos trip amid shutdown
Trump’s plans to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, later this month could be scrapped if the partial government shutdown continues.
According to two people with knowledge of the discussions, the White House is considering canceling Trump’s trip, but no decision has been made.
Among those scheduled to join Trump in Davos this year are Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer, presidential adviser and daughter Ivanka Trump, and adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, among other top staffers.
3:45 p.m. White House meeting on shutdown ends quickly over wall funding dispute; Trump calls it ‘a total waste of time’
The meeting in the White House Situation Room broke up after Democratic leaders said they would not fund Trump’s border wall, according to Trump and the Democrats.
“I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier?,” Trump said in a tweet. He added that Pelosi “said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!”
Democrats, meanwhile, told reporters outside the White House that Trump had stormed out of the meeting after he didn’t get his way.
“Well unfortunately, the president just got up and walked out,” Schumer said. He described Trump as having had a “temper tantrum” after Democrats rebuffed his offer to reopen the government in return for wall funding.
“And then, a few minutes later, he sort of slammed the table, and when Leader Pelosi said she didn’t agree with the wall, he just walked out and said, ‘We have nothing to discuss,’ ” Schumer said.
Pelosi said Trump doesn’t understand the dire straits that federal workers are in as they face the continued loss of their paychecks.
“He thinks maybe they could just ask their father for more money,” Pelosi said. “But they can’t. But they can’t.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that Trump had brought candy to the meeting in an effort to smooth things over. After the meeting, McCarthy accused Democrats of “embarrassing” behavior, while House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said Trump was “very calm.” Both he and Pence denied that Trump slammed the table.
“I don’t recall him ever raising his voice or slamming his hand,” Pence said.
2:50 p.m. After meeting with Senate Republicans, Trump says GOP is ‘totally unified’ on shutdown
Trump emerged from his meeting with Senate Republicans at the Capitol and declared that the party is “totally unified” on keeping the government partially shuttered until a deal on a border wall is reached.
“There was no discussion of anything other than solidarity,” Trump told reporters, joined by Vice President Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other Senate Republicans.
But a handful of Republicans in both the House and the Senate have broken ranks with Trump and GOP leaders and expressed support for the Democratic strategy of reopening the majority of government, while setting aside the fight over funding for the wall.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who is among those parting ways with the administration's approach, said after the meeting that she told the president that while she supports border security, there are consequences to a shutdown.
Trump also muddied his message on the situation at the border, claiming on the one hand that the country faces a crisis while on the other saying the number of border apprehensions has declined in recent years due to his own leadership.
“You know why it’s gone down? Because of good management. Because of me,” Trump told reporters.
He maintained that a barrier at the border is necessary, but specifying not “a little barrier that doesn’t work.” The more than $5 billion Trump has demanded from Congress would only build about 200 miles of wall, however, far from enough to cover the full 2,000-mile length of the U.S.-Mexico border.
1:20 p.m. North Carolina governor calls on Trump to end shutdown
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) wrote a letter to Trump on Wednesday urging him to end the shutdown, arguing that it is hampering the state’s recovery efforts after Hurricane Florence and threatening its agricultural industry.
“During your visit following Hurricane Florence, you promised me the 100% support of the federal government in North Carolina’s recovery,” Cooper said in the letter. “This shutdown makes that promise harder to keep. Please work with Congressional leaders to end this shutdown so our communities can rebuild quickly and effectively.”
Earlier this week, the bipartisan National Governors Association sent a letter to Trump and congressional leaders urging an immediate end to the shutdown.
1:05 p.m. Arriving at Capitol, Trump says shutdown can last ‘whatever it takes’
The motorcades of Trump and Pence arrived on Capitol Hill, and the two men strode up the stairs into the Senate side of the building.
Both men are scheduled to join Republican senators for their weekly policy lunch before returning to the White House to host congressional leaders from both parties.
As he walked inside, Trump was asked by a reporter how long he would let the shutdown last.
“Whatever it takes,” he responded.
12:35 p.m. Trump says the ‘threshold’ for declaring an emergency is whether he and Congress reach a deal
Trump detailed his criteria for declaring a national emergency, saying that the “threshold” is whether he and Congress are able to make a deal on wall funding.
“I think we might work a deal, and if we don’t, we might go that route,” Trump said in the Oval Office, maintaining that he has the “absolute right” to declare an emergency.
Legal experts are divided on whether Trump can declare an emergency and begin building the wall.
At a bill-signing event on Wednesday, Trump also declared, “This is not a fight I wanted. I didn’t want this fight.” That was a different message than the one the president delivered last month, when he said that he was “proud to shut down the government for border security.”
Trump also heaped praise on furloughed workers, calling them “terrific patriots” and repeating his claim that they support him shutting down the government over the border wall.
“They’re all going to get their money, and I think they’re going to be happy . . . You take a look at social media. So many of those people are saying, ‘It’s very hard for me. It’s very hard for my family. But Mr. President, you’re doing the right thing,’ ” Trump said.
And he stood by his demand for a wall, arguing that “a drone isn’t stopping a thousand people running through” the border.
“They say it’s a medieval solution. It’s true. It’s medieval because it worked then” and continues to work now, Trump said.
12:20 p.m. If Congress doesn’t provide wall funding, ‘we’ll go about it in a different manner,’ Trump says
At a bill-signing ceremony in the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon, Trump once again raised the prospect of taking unilateral action if Congress doesn’t give him the $5.7 billion he has demanded for the border wall.
“We’re all working together. I really believe the Democrats and the Republicans are working together,” Trump said after signing the bill, an anti-human-trafficking measure. “Otherwise, we’ll go about it in a different manner.”
“I don’t think we’ll have to do that,” he added, but he said that it was still a possibility.
Trump reiterated that border security is a “big problem.”
“We’re doing very well except for the border,” he said.
11:30 a.m. Democratic leaders appear with furloughed federal workers
Pelosi on Wednesday accused Trump of having “chosen a wall over workers” as she and Schumer staged a news conference with furloughed federal employees.
“The people behind me represent the real human collateral damage of President Trump’s shutdown,” Schumer said at the event. “To use them as hostages through a temper tantrum by the president, it’s just so wrong. It’s so unfair. It’s so mean-spirited. And it ought to end now.”
“My message to President Trump and my Republican colleagues is simple: Our federal workers just want to do their jobs. It’s time that you do yours,” Schumer said.
He said that he didn’t think Trump had “persuaded a soul” with the address he delivered Tuesday night from the Oval Office touting the need for a wall.
Pelosi also panned Trump’s address.
“The president last night spouted more malice and misinformation, appealing to fear instead of facts,” she said.
11 a.m.: Democrats from Washington area pan Trump’s address
Democratic lawmakers from the Washington area held a news conference Wednesday morning to emphasize the impact of the shutdown on federal employees, many of whom live in the region.
“The shutdown is a negative, stupid, uncalled for, unnecessary, people-affecting crisis,” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said.
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) decried Trump’s demand for a border wall that Connolly said was not justified by “racist, bigoted, xenophobic rhetoric we heard last night from the president of the United States.”
Connolly called Trump’s address “one of the most sordid moments in the history of the Oval Office, mimicking alt-right bigotry as a justification for shutting down the government.”
Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) also took aim at Trump.
“We need a leader, we don’t need a demagogue in the White House,” he said. “We need a president, we don’t need a grandstander. And so, Mr. President, we beseech you, open the government.”
10:45 a.m.: Kellyanne Conway warns of ‘phony-baloney’ polls
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway predicted Wednesday there will be faulty polling in coming days showing that Trump’s Oval Office address did not impact Americans’ views on the need for a border wall.
“I know there will be some phony-baloney polling question constructions . . . to show that it didn’t move the needle,” said Conway, who worked as a pollster before becoming Trump’s campaign manager in 2016.
Conway said that in her view, Trump’s address did shift the national debate. She said it will be important to look at how polling questions are framed.
10:40 a.m.: Jeffries says Democrats won’t waste money on ‘medieval wall’
Following a meeting of the Democratic caucus Wednesday, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said the partial government shutdown was the result of a “presidential temper tantrum” and that Democrats are not willing to “waste taxpayer dollars on a medieval wall.”
“No one outside of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thinks this is effective,” said Jeffries, the Democratic caucus chairman, referring to the address of the White House.
Jeffries spoke at one of several news conferences Democrats have scheduled for Wednesday as they continue to press their case for resisting Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion in wall funding.
He also predicted that more Republicans will join with Democrats in voting for legislation to reopen shuttered government agencies.
“We expect that with each passing day, additional Republicans in the House, as well as Senate Republicans, will publicly express their objection to keeping the government shut down,” Jeffries said. “Last week we had about four or five House Republicans join us. We expect that the number will cross into double figures today and as the week proceeds.”
10:30 a.m. Schumer says federal employees suffering due to ‘Trump shutdown’
During a Senate floor speech, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) focused on the hardships for federal workers because of the partial government shutdown, saying they are “suffering needlessly” because of Trump’s unwillingness to relent from his demand for border wall funding.
Many workers are about to miss a paycheck and risk ruining credit scores that they have worked hard to maintain, Schumer said.
“They are innocent victims of the Trump shutdown,” he said. “President Trump, are you proud to own a shutdown that’s hurting so many innocent people?”
Schumer urged McConnell to accept legislation that would reopen government departments and to convince Trump to sign it.
10:15 a.m.: McConnell says Democrats have ‘allergy’ to border funding
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday called Trump’s request for wall funding “eminently reasonable” and accused Democrats of contracting a “new partisan allergy” to border security.
In a floor speech, McConnell ticked off past statements of support from prominent Democrats, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, for border fencing and other barriers and noted that Pelosi is now calling a border wall “immoral.”
“From badly needed to immoral in little more than the span of presidency,” McConnell said. “My Democratic friends wanted fencing and physical barriers in the recent past … The only thing that has changed between then and now is the occupant of the White House.”
McConnell said Democrats should move past what he characterized as “purely partisan spite.”
9:06 a.m.: Trumps tweets ‘we MUST fix our Southern Border!’
Trump weighed in on the shutdown for the first time Wednesday with a tweet asserting the country is doing well “in so many ways” yet still needs to address border security.
9 a.m.: Fitch warns extended shutdown could hurt U.S. credit rating
As the partial U.S. government shutdown dragged into its 19th day, Fitch Ratings warned Wednesday that an extended shutdown might damage the country’s Triple-A credit rating if lawmakers are unable to pass a budget or manage the debt ceiling.
Shortly after Trump took his fight for the wall to prime-time TV, Fitch’s global head of sovereign ratings, James McCormack, said that the nation’s mounting debt is weighing on the United States and that the government can’t grapple with the rising debt level during a shutdown.
Read more from The Post’s Taylor Telford here.
8:40 a.m.: Sanders says declaring a national emergency ‘still on the table’
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday that Trump is still considering declaring a national emergency that would allow him to direct the military to build a border wall without congressional consent.
“It’s something we’re still looking at, something that’s certainly still on the table,” Sanders told reporters at the White House.
She added, however, that “the best solution is to be able to work with Congress to get this get done.”
In recent days, the White House has been looking at an emergency declaration, though Trump made no mention of it in his Oval Office address on Tuesday.
Democrats have said they could take court action to try to block the move. Some Republicans have also spoken out against the strategy, saying they don’t want to see funds diverted from existing military construction projects.
8:35 a.m.: Clyburn says shutdown could end in ‘the not-too-distant future’
House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Wednesday offered an optimistic view — a rarity on Capitol Hill right now — about the end of the shutdown.
“I think we’re very close to a deal,” Clyburn said during an appearance on CNN.
His assessment comes as House Democrats plan to pass spending bills reopening parts of government unrelated to border security. The move is intended to put pressure on the Republican-led Senate to act, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) so far has resisted.
“I think in the not-too-distant future the Senate will act, and the president will respond in an appropriate way,” Clyburn said.
7:50 a.m.: Sanders says Democrats ‘continue to live in denial’
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders blasted Democratic congressional leaders Wednesday morning, saying they “continue to live in denial” about a crisis at the border.
“They care more about playing politics than they do about protecting Americans,” Sanders said on Fox News, responding to remarks by Pelosi and Schumer after Trump’s Oval Office address.
Sanders said the White House has “shown a willingness to work with them,” citing Trump’s shift from a concrete wall to a steel barrier, among other things.
Speaking about a meeting scheduled Wednesday afternoon at the White House, Sanders said: “It would be great if Democrats showed up and demonstrated the same kind of willingness that we have to get the job done.”
Her assessment followed an address by Trump on Tuesday night in which he painted a harrowing picture of danger and death along the U.S.-Mexico border, describing undocumented immigrants as murderers, rapists and drug smugglers and arguing that a steel barrier — for which he is demanding that Congress appropriate $5.7 billion — is the only solution.
During the Democratic response, Pelosi and Schumer harshly criticized Trump for what Pelosi called a “senseless shutdown.”
“The fact is, President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis and must reopen the government,” she said.
7:35 a.m.: Kaine says Democrats are serious about border security
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said Wednesday that Democrats are serious about border security and asserted that Trump is only inserted in the issue for “talking points.”
“Democrats have been on board with massive border security investments as long as they’re done the right way,” Kaine said during an appearance on CNN.
He pointed to a bipartisan deal presented to Trump early last year that included $25 billion for border security over 10 years.
“The president blew up the deal,” Kaine said. “There is a deal to be had here but first we’ve got to reopen government.”
7:20 a.m.: Cheney says House Republicans ‘stand with the president’
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said Wednesday that House Republicans continue to stand with Trump and claimed Democrats are refusing to negotiate an end to the shutdown.
“This could be resolved in a 45-minute meeting, and I think the American people want it resolved. We stand ready to negotiate,” Cheney, the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, said in a morning interview on Fox News.
“We know that the most important thing we’ve got to do as elected officials is secure the border, keep the nation safe,” Cheney said. “We’re not going to be playing partisan games here. … We’re going to stand with the president on this one.”
6 a.m.: On Hill, prime-time speeches only pushed parties further apart
Neither President Trump’s televised Oval Office address arguing for his border wall nor the rebuttal from Democratic congressional leaders appeared to move either party any closer to ending the 18-day partial government shutdown, according to the reactions of lawmakers across the political spectrum late Tuesday.
Instead, a review of dozens of written statements and interviews indicated, the parties have only become more entrenched in their positions — while a few wondered aloud about the point of the dueling prime-time statements carried live by the television networks.
Read more from The Post’s Mike DeBonis here.
Mike DeBonis, Robert McCartney, Jenna Portnoy, Seung Min Kim, Erica Werner, Sean Sulilvan, David Weigel, Josh Dawsey and Heather Long contributed to this report.