House Democrats to Vote on Ending Shutdown as They Take Majority

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"We have no choice, we have to have border security and a wall is part of border security", Trump said in a telephone interview with Fox News broadcast Monday night.

The spending package also includes a second measure that would extend funding for Homeland Security through February 8. He said he was "not giving up" in his standoff with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. McConnell has said Senate Republicans will not approve a spending measure not supported by Trump.

Meanwhile, Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi in a "Dear Colleague" letter said on the first day of the new Congress, the Democrats will take action to end what she described as the "Trump Shutdown".

"It would be the height of irresponsibility and political cynicism for Senate Republicans to now reject the same legislation they have already supported", the statement said.

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Trump wrote on Twitter that border security could not exist "without a strong and powerful Wall". Such a bill passed the Senate on a voice vote earlier this month before being scuttled in the House by outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan and objections from Trump.

House Democrats have prepared two bills aimed at ending the partial government shutdown, according to Democratic House aides, but neither is expected to include any new money for President Trump's border wall. Speaking to Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Trump said, "I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck, because the people of this country don't want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country".

Trump has demanded $5 billion to fund a border wall along the southern border, while Democrats have refused to offer anything more than an extension for 2018 border security funds that included $1.3 billion for fencing.

As the partial government shutdown continues into its second week, President Trump has invited a bipartisan group of top lawmakers to the White House for talks. If the two sides can agree on a term like "barrier" instead of "wall", and an amount between $5 billion and $1.6 billion, an agreement is possible. Members of Congress left Washington while Trump remained at the White House and each side blamed the other.

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Vice President Mike Pence told Schumer on December 22 that Trump could accept $2.1 billion for border barriers, plus a $400 million flexible fund for the president's "immigration priorities". Republicans often voiced concerns over the national debt when President Barack Obama was in charge, but those public criticisms largely subsided when the GOP gained control of the White House.

"Once the Senate passes this legislation and puts us on a path to reopening government, the president must come to his senses and immediately sign it into law".

Kelly added that Customs and Border Protection agents told him during his brief stint as Homeland Security secretary that they need physical barriers in some areas.

The shutdown has affected nine cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, forcing about 420,000 federal employees, who are deemed essential, to work without pay, while 380,000 others are expected to take unpaid leave. But a previous attempt to reach a compromise that addressed the status of "Dreamers" - young immigrants brought to the U.S.as children - broke down a year ago as a result of escalating White House demands.

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Rather than reach out for negotiations, the president has been holed up at the White House, tweeting.

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