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Schumer: Trump Threatened to Extend Shutdown for ‘Months or Even Years’

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Schumer: Trump Threatened to Extend Shutdown for ‘Months or Even Years’

President Donald Trump speaks with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in the White House in Washington, D.C., December 11, 2018. (Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS)

After meeting with President Trump on Friday afternoon, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer told reporters that little progress had been made toward ending the ongoing partial government shutdown.

Congressional leaders from both parties met with Trump to negotiate the terms of a spending bill that would end the ongoing 14-day shutdown prompted by Trump’s demand that more than $5 billion be appropriated for the construction of a wall on the southern border.

Following the meeting, Schumer told reporters Trump had threatened to extend the shutdown, which is partial and affects only nine agencies, “for a very long period of time — months or even years.”

Trump confirmed Schumer’s account during a press conference in the White House rose garden following the meeting.

Representative Nancy Pelosi, who reclaimed the House speaker’s gavel Thursday, has repeatedly said in recent days that her caucus would not support any spending bill that includes funding for a physical barrier on the border, the creation of which she called “immoral.”

“We cannot resolve this until we open up government, and we made that very clear to the president,” Pelosi told reporters at the White House.

The Democratic leaders’ characterization of the meeting stands in contrast to that of Trump, who called the discussion “very productive” during his press conference. Trump added that negotiations will continue over the weekend through a specially designated working group.

The Democrat-controlled House passed a pair of spending bills Friday that do not include funding for the wall and were agreed upon by leaders of both parties prior to Trump’s border-wall-funding demand. Trump’s negotiating position appeared to weaken Wednesday evening as moderate Republican senators Susan Collins of Maine and Cory Gardner of Colorado endorsed the immediate passage of those spending bills as a means to swiftly end the shutdown.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, has said repeatedly that the Senate will not vote on any spending package that does not meet Trump’s demands.

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