Democrats decline White House lunch as partial shutdown hits 25th day

Democrats decline White House lunch as partial shutdown hits 25th day

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offer a televised prime time rebuttal to President Trump's remarks on immigration. January 8, 2019. Courtesy: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi/Facebook Live
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offer a televised prime time rebuttal to President Trump's remarks on immigration. January 8, 2019. Courtesy: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi/Facebook Live

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats declined an invitation to discuss border security and the ongoing partial government shutdown over lunch at the White House Tuesday, according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

“The President offered both Democrats and Republicans the chance to meet for lunch at the White House. Unfortunately, no Democrats will attend,” Sanders said in a statement. “The President looks forward to having a working lunch with House Republicans to solve the border crisis and reopen the government. It’s time for the Democrats to come to the table and make a deal.”

Negotiations over reopening the government have been stymied as Trump continues to call for $5.7 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a proposal Democrats have declined.

Last week, Trump abruptly walked out of a White House meeting with lawmakers after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) signaled that she will not support the barrier, even if the government is fully funded via stopgap measures.

Trump told reporters Monday that he rejects a plan floated by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to temporarily reopen the government while talks continue.

In her statement Tuesday, Sanders said the president is ready to offer a plan that “includes additional technology at ports of entry, allows minors from Central America to seek asylum in their home country, and physical barriers between ports of entry made of steel instead of concrete,” factors the White House has cast as concessions.

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