Moderate Democrats were invited to have lunch with President Trump and House Republicans on Tuesday. Reps. J. Luis Correa (D-Calif.), Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), Abigail Spanberger (D- Va.), and Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) were invited to the lunch. Two are leaders of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition. These Democrats, suspecting they will be used as pawns in the political impasse against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi- who is hell-bent on dismissing the notion of a border wall once and for all- declined lunch with the President.
President Trump has been blaming the Democrats for the government shutdown but press reports show otherwise. Previously, President Trump walked out of a meeting and threatened to veto bipartisan legislation if there is not a wall involved. Now, however, the tables have turned and his attempts to make peace with a lunch at the White House were rebuffed.
The Democrats Trump targeted for his lunch were firmly against the wall and discussion during a single lunch would not have changed their minds. Yet, on Tuesday, President Trump invited additional Democratic House members for a meeting on Wednesday. Lately, White House strategy was to pin the shutdown on Democrats and fragment the Party for his wall. He has not succeeded in turning Democrats against each other so far. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is not budging from his position and stands with House Speaker Pelosi.
On Tuesday, a lawsuit brought by the union representing air traffic controllers and other federal workers was rejected by a federal judge, Richard J. Leon. He refused to give an order allowing thousands of federal workers to stop working. And about 50,000 furloughed employees, out of 800,000 total, were compelled to return to work without pay.
Democrats and Republicans alike think a short-term reopening of the government is for the best. Democrats want parts of the government that have nothing to do with border security reopened and Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham seek to write a letter to President Trump advising the government be reopened and funds for border security increased while negotiations continue. On Monday, President Trump blew off Graham’s suggestion.
The House is assessing short-term spending bills to reopen the government as soon as possible but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will not pass any legislation that does not meet Trump’s approval and fails to move President Trump’s policies along. On Tuesday, McConnell, without a second thought, dismissed any possibility of the Senate overriding President Trump’s veto on proposed legislation to reopen the government.
Congressional recesses scheduled for next week were canceled as the shutdown reaches 25 days.
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