Trump's war of words with top Democrat Pelosi over government shutdown

Democrat Nancy Pelosi rejected Donald Trump's deal on immigration and the Mexico border wall.

US President Donald Trump has proposed 2,750 more border agents and $5.7 billion for a steel barrier covering 370 kilometres. "Third, I am ready to sit down at any time after the government is opened and work to resolve all outstanding issues", Durbin said.

Prior to the address and responding to reports on Trump's decision to offer temporary relief to undocumented migrants residing in the U.S. in exchange for wall funding, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the move to reopen the government was a "non-starter".

In remarks he billed as a "major announcement", Trump cited a proposal developed by administration officials and Republican lawmakers.

About one-quarter of USA government programs have been partially shut down due to a lack of funding as the president has held out for the US$5.7 billion he wants just for this year to build a wall on the southwestern U.S. border to keep out illegal immigrants and drugs.

The shutdown - the longest in the U.S. history- entered its 29th day, as Trump Saturday made the announcements.

Trump lashed out on Twitter a day after Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, dismissed as a "non-starter" his offer to extend temporary protection to about a million immigrants in return for $5.7 billion for the wall he wants on the Mexican border. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said, "It was the president who singled-handedly took away DACA and TPS protections in the first place".

In the latest example of brinkmanship during the partial government shutdown, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi canceled her plans to travel by commercial plane to visit USA troops in Afghanistan, saying President Donald Trump had caused a security risk by talking about the trip.

The President noted that he had adopted some Democratic proposals on border security.

Democrats have insisted that there are better, cheaper ways to achieve border security. But it's drawn nothing but negative reviews from Democrats so far.

"The vote this week in the Senate is not to pass the bill, it is to open up and say 'Can we debate this?"

Trump outlined a plan to end the government shutdown on Saturday, offering congressional Democrats three years of legislative relief for 700,000 DACA recipients - including protection from deportation - and an extension of legal residence for people living in the country under "Temporary Protective Status" designations.

He said that while there would be "no big push" to remove the 11 million people in the country illegally, he warned: "'but be careful, Nancy!"

Democrats criticized Trump's proposal because it didn't seem to be a permanent solution for those immigrants and because it includes money for the wall along the US-Mexico border, which the party strongly opposes. "She's under total control of the radical left".

As top Democrats already oppose the plan, it will be hard for the measure to get 60 votes needed to survive in the Senate, and it seems certain to die in the House. However, Trump's proposal was quickly rebuked by Democrats, as well as conservatives leery of any deal that embraced "amnesty".

Seeking to cast the plan as a bipartisan way forward, Trump said on Saturday he was incorporating ideas from "rank-and-file" Democrats, as top Democrats made clear they had not been consulted. "If we had a wall, we wouldn't have a problem". Flows of undocumented migrants have dramatically slowed in recent years, and most illegal drugs are smuggled in on commercial flights, not via illegal border crossers.

The partial government shutdown has affected roughly 800,000 federal employees, who started to miss paychecks earlier this month. His proposal would have also offered protections for individuals from specified nations who had previously been allowed to legally stay in the United States under the Temporary Protected Status program. Mr Trump has been trying to rescind the programme.

  • Tracy Klein