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US government shutdown to extend to 2019

December 30, 2018

Donald Trump said he was 'waiting for Democrats' to come to the White House to reach a deal over his proposed border wall. Trump blamed the deaths of two migrant children at the border on Democrats' immigration policy.

US Capitol during the shutdown
Image: picture-alliance/Zuma/C. Guzy

The US government shutdown is slated to remain in place as 2018 draws to a close, with the White House saying on Sunday that President Donald Trump would not be reaching out to Democrats. The inaction would extend the shutdown into the New Year and into the hands of the new Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway told Fox News broadcaster on Sunday that Trump was waiting for Democrats to reach out to him.

At the weekend, Trump was tweeted often, but did not hold meetings with Republican or Democratic leaders.

As Republicans hold on to the House of Representatives for five more days, no legislative work has been planned and Trump did not ask Republicans to keep Congress in session. This means the shutdown will likely be in effect when the new democratic-controlled House takes over on January 3.

Read more: Donald Trump will be impeached in 2019, says 'prediction professor'

White House blames Nancy Pelosi

While the president threatened on Friday to close the southern US border with Mexico over the shutdown, the White House shifted their focus and placed the blame on Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, suggested to reporters that Democratic Senators would be more likely to "cut a deal" with Trump, but they were not doing so in order to "protect" Pelosi.

Mulvaney argued that if Pelosi reached an agreement with the president, she would likely lose her leadership of the House of Representatives.

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Democrats look ahead to majority

Both in the House and Senate Democrats appeared defiant and have said they will not back down from their rejection of a border wall.

Instead, Pelosi has said the new House will move to "quickly" approve a spending measure to end the partial government shutdown. The measure will not include money for Trump's wall.

In an interview with newspaper USA Today, Pelosi charged against the president's immigration stances. "He talked about terrorists coming in over that particular border, which wasn't so. He talked about people bringing in diseases and all the rest of that, which wasn't so," Pelosi said.

"He's using scare tactics that are not evidence-based, and it's wrong," she added.

Read more: With Mattis gone, 'time to be afraid' of 3 a.m. call for Donald Trump

Trump: migrant deaths are Democrat's fault

Trump deflected criticism on Saturday over his administration's responsibility over the two migrant deaths that took place while they were in custody of the US Border Patrol. Instead, he said the deaths were the fault of Democrats' immigration policies and tied the tragic incident with the need to fund a border wall.

"Any deaths of children or others at the Border are strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally. If we had a Wall, they wouldn't even try!" Trump tweeted.

jcg/aw (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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