Trump presses Democrats on border wall funding ahead of Senate meeting

Washington, Dec 28 (IANS) As the US Senate is set to reconvene on Thursday, President Donald Trump continued to blame Democrats for the budget impasse and again criticized Democrats’ opposition to funding a US-Mexico border wall.
“Have the Democrats finally realized that we desperately need Border Security and a Wall on the Southern Border,” the president tweeted Thursday morning.
“Need to stop Drugs, Human Trafficking, Gang Members & Criminals from coming into our Country,” it added, reports Xinhua news agency.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Saturday that a physical barrier is off the option. Describing the wall as Trump’s “bone to the hard right”.
Schumer said Democrats are pushing for “smart and effective ways” to secure the border, such as drones and sensors, and inspection equipment.
The partial government shutdown, which began on Saturday, was triggered by the White House and Congress’ failed attempts to resolve a budget impasse over the funding of the border wall.
Trump has demanded $5 billion for the wall, a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign, but Democrats were only willing to approve $1.3 billion to enhance border security.
White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told Fox News on Sunday that the White House has given a “counter-offer” that was “between those two numbers.”
Schumer, however, denounced the White House for sending mixed messages, tweeting on Monday, “Different people from the same White House are saying different things about what the President would accept or not accept to end his #TrumpShutdown.”
The Senate is scheduled to convene at 4:00 p.m. and no votes have been planned, as the president and Democrats remain far apart on the border wall funding.
Mulvaney on Sunday said that the ongoing partial government shutdown would likely extend into the new year.

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