Pelosi, Schumer demand Dems get equal air time after Trump address
Jan 08 2019
President Donald Trump announced on Monday he would make a prime-time address and visit the U.S. -Mexico border this week as the partial federal government shutdown entered its 17th day after a funding impasse over his demand for money to build a border wall.
I am pleased to inform you that I will Address the Nation on the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border.
Democratic lawmakers are refusing to negotiate with the White House over funding for a proposed wall along the US southern border unless the government is reopened, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Monday in a briefing at his ceremonial office.
"Now that the television networks have chose to air the president's address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a joint statement.
Fox News contributor Juan Williams countered by saying that Trump "keeps lying" about construction and funding on his long-promised border wall. To win, he has to come out the other end of a divided Washington with a border wall in tow-or having given an Oval Office address and then failing would mark a significant defeat for a president. In 2019, the president is now hitting even more resistance from the newly installed Democratic House after a bruising midterm election cycle where Democrats won 40 House seats. Congressional Democrats are refusing to pay for a wall.
Trump has offered to build the barrier with steel rather than concrete, billing that as a concession to Democrats' objections to a solid wall.
The administration letter includes a request for $800 million for "urgent humanitarian needs", a reflection of the growing anxiety over migrants traveling to the border - which the White House said Democrats raised in the meetings.
Congressional Democrats are resisting the president's demand for wall funding. "He's not building a wall anymore, ' that should help us move in the right direction", Mulvaney said. And it repeats some existing funding requests for detention beds and security officers, which have already been panned by Congress and would likely find resistance among House Democrats.
Friday is a scheduled payday for federal workers. Tax refund checks might have been disrupted too, but the White House said Monday the IRS will issue refunds during the shutdown.
A threatened shutdown of the USA government would see hundreds of thousands of federal employees furloughed and many more working without pay.