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With clock ticking on another potential government shutdown, Trump blames Democrats

Another+shutdown+looms+if+President+Trump+and+Democratic+congressional+leaders+can%27t+agree+to+fund+the+federal+government+by+Friday.+In+December%2C+House+Speaker+Nancy+Pelosi+and+Senate+Majority+Leader+Chuck+Schumer+met+with+Vice+President+Mike+Pence+and+Trump+in+the+Oval+Office+to+discuss+border+security+and+funding+the+government.+
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With clock ticking on another potential government shutdown, Trump blames Democrats

Another shutdown looms if President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders can't agree to fund the federal government by Friday. In December, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer met with Vice President Mike Pence and Trump in the Oval Office to discuss border security and funding the government.

Another shutdown looms if President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders can't agree to fund the federal government by Friday. In December, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer met with Vice President Mike Pence and Trump in the Oval Office to discuss border security and funding the government.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images/TNS

Another shutdown looms if President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders can't agree to fund the federal government by Friday. In December, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer met with Vice President Mike Pence and Trump in the Oval Office to discuss border security and funding the government.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images/TNS

Mark Wilson/Getty Images/TNS

Another shutdown looms if President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders can't agree to fund the federal government by Friday. In December, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer met with Vice President Mike Pence and Trump in the Oval Office to discuss border security and funding the government.

By Laura King, Los Angeles Times

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President Donald Trump sought Sunday to pre-emptively cast blame on Democrats if an impasse over his demand for a border wall leads to a second partial government shutdown this week.

Stopgap funding for about one-third of the government is due to expire at midnight Friday, and congressional negotiations over border security and other immigration-related issues have stalled, according to participants.

The snag, if it lasts, could presage another shutdown, although a degree of posturing by both sides is not unusual under such circumstances, as neither side wishes to appear too willing to make major concessions.

Trump in December publicly said he would be “proud to shut down the government.” That remark dogged him throughout the 35-day closing that followed until he was forced to temporarily abandon his demand for $5.7 billion for his desired border wall.

Sunday, he took to Twitter to paint Democrats as the responsible party this time.

“I actually believe they want a Shutdown,” he wrote. He suggested that Democrats wanted to deflect attention from issues like the messy fight in Virginia over whether Gov. Ralph Northam and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, both Democrats, should resign over scandals involving racist behavior and accusations of sexual misconduct.

“They want a new subject!” wrote Trump, whose own week was marked by a widely derided congressional appearance by his acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, who evaded questions about whether Trump attempted to quash some of the multiple investigations surrounding him.

Also this past week, the president delivered a combative State of the Union speech during which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., greeted his seemingly incongruous call for “compromise and the common good” with sarcastic clapping. Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that another shutdown “absolutely cannot” be ruled out, although many of Trump’s Republican allies in Congress have made it clear that they hope to avoid such a scenario.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Mulvaney suggested another way out, saying the president would “take whatever money Congress agrees to allocate for border barriers” and then “go off and find the money someplace else, legally.”

Trump’s promised border wall “is going to get built, with or without Congress,” he said.

One of the leading Republican congressional negotiators, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, described the talks as “stalled right now.”

“I’m hoping we can get off the dime, because time is ticking away,” he said, also on Fox.

Negotiators have said that given the time required under House and Senate rules to pass legislation, they need to have an agreement finished by Monday to guarantee passage by Friday.

The president has remained insistent in his demand for $5.7 billion for border barriers, while Democrats, who now control the House, have said they will not offer more than $2 billion.

The two sides also disagree over the number of beds at immigrant detention centers. Republicans are contesting a Democratic effort to reduce the number of detentions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., another member of the conference committee, said he remained “very hopeful” that negotiators could arrive at a “common sense” agreement.

“It’s a negotiation, negotiations seldom go smooth all the way through,” he said on Fox. “It’s give and take, it’s compromise, it’s the way government is supposed to work.”

On Twitter, the president implied that Democratic congressional negotiators were being prevented by their leadership, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York, from making concessions on what he called a “desperately needed Border Wall.”

“I don’t think the Dems on the Border Committee are being allowed by their leaders to make a deal,” Trump wrote. Before the previous shutdown, the two parties did have an agreement, only to have it scuttled by Trump.

Democrats taking part in the negotiations are saying aloud what their Republican counterparts cannot: that Trump’s fealty to the notion of a wall, which he made a central campaign issue, remains the principal wild card in the talks. Underscoring that, Trump was to travel Monday to El Paso for a rally expected to focus on his demand for a border barrier.

Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., said on ABC’s “This Week” that he believed talks convened by Mulvaney at the presidential retreat of Camp David could have reached agreement “in less than a day” if the acting chief of staff were president. “I think the big problem here is this has become pretty much an ego negotiation,” Yarmuth said. “This really isn’t over substance.”

Republicans also continued to suggest that Trump might move to circumvent Congress with an emergency declaration on the wall, a step that would be certain to face a strong legal challenge.

Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., said on ABC that Trump was “right to have contingency plans” for moving ahead in the event of a continued stalemate.

“He’s going to have some plans in place,” Graves said.

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With clock ticking on another potential government shutdown, Trump blames Democrats