President Trump continued calling for more than $5.7 billion for the construction of a border wall on Sunday, as the partial government shutdown stretched into its third week. He said negotiations would begin again on Monday, adding that he needed to deal directly with Democratic leaders.
Speaking with reporters outside of the White House, Trump said, “We’ll obviously be discussing the wall, which is desperately needed … We have to build a wall, we have to build a barrier. The barrier, or the wall, can be made of steel instead of concrete in case that helps people.”
Talks have remained at an impasse over the president’s funding request for the wall. Democrats have offered $1.3 billion for the construction of a fence and border security. The president has said he will not budge on the money he is requesting.
“This is a very important battle to win, in terms of safety, number one, defining our country, and who we are,” Trump said.
On Sunday, Trump threatened again to declare a national emergency to build the wall along the U.S. Mexico border if he could not reach a deal with Democratic congressional leaders.
The negotiations are continuing as a partial government shutdown has left more than 800,000 federal employees furloughed or working without pay.
“Many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I am doing,” Trump said on Sunday.
As the president continues to press his case for the wall, Democrats, newly in the majority in the House of Representatives, said they would seek passage of individual appropriations bills to force some parts of the government to reopen.
A statement from the House Appropriations Committee, chaired by New York Democrat Nita Lowey, read:
“These four bills, which are expected to be considered in the House this week, will immediately reopen key parts of the federal government and stop the harm the Trump Shutdown is inflicting on American families, businesses, and communities.
“The House will first consider the Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill, which funds the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service, to ensure that hardworking Americans can receive their tax refunds on schedule. The remaining bills will cover Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; and Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies.”
Last week, President Trump warned that the partial government shutdown could continue for months and even years if he is not able to reach a deal with Democrats.