'You have to have a wall': Resolute Trump declares government shutdown won't end until he gets funding for border security
- Donald Trump made remarks about shutdown and wall during his visit to Iraq
- He declined to say how much he would accept in a deal with congressional Democrats to end the shutdown
- When asked how long he would wait to get what he wants, Trump said, 'Whatever it takes'
- He also repeated the baseless claim that terrorists have been entering the US through the southern border with Mexico
- Shutdown affecting 800,000 workers started Saturday when funding lapsed for nine Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies
By Associated Press and Dailymail.com Reporter
Published: 17:04 EST, 26 December 2018 | Updated: 17:12 EST, 26 December 2018
President Donald Trump on Wednesday vowed to stick to his guns on the government shutdown, telling reporters as he flew to Iraq for a surprise visit that he’ll do 'whatever it takes' to get money for his border wall.
He declined to say how much he would accept in a deal with congressional Democrats to end the shutdown, now in its fifth day, stressing the need for border security.
'You have to have a wall, you have to have protection,' he said while on the ground at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq.
And when asked how long he would wait to get what he wants, he said, 'Whatever it takes. We need a wall. We need safety for our country.'
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Speaking at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq Wednesday, Donald Trump vowed to carry on with the government shutdown until congressional Democrats agree to fund his border wall
When asked how long he would wait to get what he wants, he said, 'Whatever it takes. We need a wall. We need safety for our country'
CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller tweeted that the president again repeated the baseless claim that terrorists have been entering the US through the southern border with Mexico.
Trump blamed the shutdown on Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who was expected to become speaker of the US House of Representatives on January 3.
'Nancy is calling the shots,' he said, suggesting that her opposition to his demand for wall funding had to do with Pelosi's need for votes to become speaker.
Pelosi largely locked up the speakership weeks ago.
The shutdown started Saturday when funding lapsed for nine Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies. Roughly 420,000 workers were deemed essential and are working unpaid, while an additional 380,000 have been furloughed.
While the White House was talking to congressional Democrats — and staff talks continued on Capitol Hill — negotiations dragged Wednesday, dimming hopes for a swift breakthrough and making it more likely that the shutdown would carry into January.
With no deal at hand, members of the House were told there would be no votes on Thursday, assuring the shutdown would last yet another day.
Lawmakers are away from Washington for the holidays and have been told they will have 24 hours’ notice before having to return. The Senate is slated to come into session Thursday afternoon.
Trump and his wife Melanie made a surprise visit to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq to meet with Us troops, making it his first-ever visit to a war zone
Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, a Trump ally who has been involved in the talks, said the president 'is very firm in his resolve that we need to secure our border.' He told CNN, 'I don’t know that there’s a lot of progress that has been made today.”
But he added of Democrats: 'If they believe that this president is going to yield on this particular issue, they’re misreading him.'
The impasse over government funding began last week, when the Senate approved a bipartisan deal keeping government open into February.
That bill provided $1.3billion for border security projects but not money for the wall. At Trump’s urging, the House approved that package and inserted the $5.7billion he had requested.
On Friday afternoon, a Senate procedural vote showed that Republicans lacked the 60 votes they’d need to force the measure with the wall funding through their chamber. That jump-started negotiations between Congress and the White House, but the deadline came and went without a deal.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York on Saturday said funding for Trump’s wall will 'never pass the Senate.'
'So President Trump, if you want to open the government, you must abandon the wall, plain and simple,' Schumer said.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is in lockstep with Schumer against the wall funding. If the shutdown continues into 2019, she has vowed that her new Democratic majority will act quickly to pass legislation reopening the government.
The shutdown has been playing out against the backdrop of turmoil in the stock market, which is having a roller-coaster week.
Kevin Hassett, the chairman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, said the shutdown does not change the administration’s expectation for strong growth heading into 2019.
The partial government shutdown started Saturday when funding lapsed for nine Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies
He told reporters a shutdown of a few weeks is not going to have any “significant effect on the outlook.”
The shutdown that began on Saturday — the third of 2018 — caused a lapse in funding for nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice.
The shutdown complicates things for essential employees who planned trips for the holidays: According to the Office of Personnel Management rules, employees deemed essential or otherwise exempted from their respective agency furloughs can’t take any vacation or sick days.
Furloughed federal workers have been given back pay in previous shutdowns.
Those being furloughed include 52,000 workers at the Internal Revenue Service and nearly everyone at NASA. About 8 in 10 employees of the National Park Service are staying home, and many parks have closed.
Roughly 44,000 US Coast Guard employees are considered essential, and will report to work this week without pay, with another 6,000 furloughed.
The Coast Guard is the only arm of the military affected by the shutdown because it is funded through the Department of Homeland Security.
Trump claimed on Monday that federal workers are behind him in the shutdown fight, saying many 'have said to me and communicated, "stay out until you get the funding for the wall."' He didn’t say who he had heard from.
Many rank-and-file workers have gone to social media with stories of the financial hardship they expect to face because of the shutdown.
One union representing federal workers slammed Trump’s claim. Paul Shearon, the president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, in a statement said the union has not heard from a single member who supports Trump’s position.
'Most view this as an act of ineptitude,' he said.
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