Congress prepares to skip planned recess if shutdown goes on

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The letter was widely interpreted as Trump's response to Pelosi's decision earlier this week to effectively rescind her pro-forma invitation to the president to deliver the state of the union, a hotly anticipated, internationally televised highlight of the congressional season that was sure to feature plenty of shutdown-fuelled, anti-Democrat rhetoric. "In the middle of the night, State Dept's Diplomatic Security Service provided an updated threat assessment detailing that the President announcing this sensitive travel had significantly increased danger to the delegation & to the troops, security & other officials supporting the trip", Hammill tweeted.

"While many Democrats in the House and Senate would like to make a deal, Speaker Pelosi will not let them negotiate", Trump said. At least 800,000 federal workers are either furloughed or working without pay as on date for nearly a month now, starting just before Christmas 2018.

An economic shift could rattle Trump, who has tied his political fortunes to the stock market and repeatedly stressed economic gains as evidence that his tax-cut package and deregulation efforts are succeeding. This means, by February the cost of the shutdown could exceed the $5.7bn Trump is asking for. "I don't know how that could happen".

The president has said the wall - or steel fence - is the only way to combat the "humanitarian crisis" at the border.

To Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, the matter was less about security than about Pelosi feeling she has the upper hand in the budget standoff.

The debate over the State of the Union address is the latest twist in the rocky, at-times nonexistent, negotiations.

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., said he hopes Trump will proceed with his speech.

The government shutdown is due to Trump's refusal to sign off on funding for a host of departments, in retaliation for the Democratic-led House's refusal to approve his US-Mexico border wall project. The dispute led to an impasse and the ongoing partial government shutdown - it is now the longest in USA history.

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It also says that federal employees who were furloughed will receive back pay for not only the current shutdown but future shutdowns as well. That was the practice in the past.

Asked about Senator Lindsey Graham's suggestion that he would sign a short-term spending bill to hold talks with the Democrats over the border wall, Trump remarked, "I do reject it". But Pelosi is refusing money for the wall she views as ineffective and immoral, and Democrats say they will discuss border security once the government has reopened. They are seeking signatures on a letter spelling out the plan.

That same desire to maintain leverage is what's helped keep many Republicans on Trump's side.

A White House official speaking Friday on the condition of anonymity to address Pelosi's charge said it didn't leak her plan.

And if the president thinks the gentle lady from San Francisco - by way of the docks of Baltimore - will back down when he counterpunches, he better realize that Pelosi can throw punches his way that would make former heavyweight boxing champion "Joltin" Joe Frazier proud.
Otherwise, he added about Trump, "If it's just seen as a weakening of his position, then he probably wouldn't do it". Joe Manchin and Chris Coons are reportedly working on the letter.

"That's not a word that I've used", he said.

Following the meeting, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders released a statement that did not indicate any progress had been made but said it was a "constructive meeting".

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