White House Adds To List Of Border Demands As Shutdown Continues

January 7, 2019

Updated at 10:00 a.m. ET

The partial shutdown of the federal government dragged into its third workweek Monday, with no end in sight.

Weekend talks between Vice President Pence and congressional staffers produced no breakthrough. Although President Trump characterized the talks as “productive,” Democrats said there was no progress.

The White House did formalize its request for $5.7 billion to fund Trump’s border wall. In a letter to lawmakers, the administration said that sum would pay for 234 miles of new barrier — at a cost of roughly $24 million per mile.

The administration is also seeking hundreds of millions of dollars for additional Border Patrol agents, immigration judges, detention beds, drug detection equipment, and to address what it calls “urgent humanitarian needs.”

Congressional Democrats are resisting the president’s demand for wall funding. In an exercise in political messaging, the House is expected to begin voting Tuesday on a series of bills to re-open shuttered government agencies without additional money for a border barrier. Although a handful of Republican senators from swing states have expressed a desire to end the partial shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is adamant that the Senate will not vote on funding bills that don’t have support from the president.

This coming Friday is a scheduled payday for federal workers. If the impasse is not resolved by then, some 800,000 federal employees will miss being paid for the first time during the shutdown.

If the standoff continues into the weekend, it will be the longest shutdown in recent history, with the potential to disrupt tax refund checks and February food stamps.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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