The National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse near the White House is closed due to the partial government shutdown in Washington, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. The National Park Service briefly opened the venue to visitors before quickly having to close again due to electrical issues. Both sides in the long-running fight over funding President Donald Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall appear to have moved toward each other, but a shutdown of one-fourth of the federal government entered Christmas without a clear resolution in sight. (AP Photo | Andrew Harnik)

Trump, Leading Democrats Fault Each Other As Partial Shutdown Heads Into 2019

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Six days into a partial government shutdown, congressional Democrats and President Trump are showing no signs of reaching a deal to reopen the government. Instead, it appears the shutdown could last until 2019.

The president has only a few more days to advance any spending agreement with the help of full GOP control in Washington. Democrats take control of the House on Jan. 3, giving them significant new leverage over future spending talks.

But on Thursday afternoon, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the House majority whip, advised members that no votes were expected in the House this week. Scalise also told lawmakers that while the House awaits Senate action on a spending bill, he will aim to provide members with 24 hours’ notice before any expected votes in the House.

The House and Senate briefly opened for business Thursday afternoon, but the momentary sessions were hardly a sign of behind-the-scenes negotiation. The halls of Congress have been nearly empty in recent days, save for a skeleton crew of staff and lawmakers. Democrats say they are all waiting for Trump to abandon his demand for $5 billion to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

Trump is showing no signs of backing down. Instead, he is taking to Twitter to blame Democrats for the shutdown.

Trump has refused to sign any spending bill that does not include money for the border wall. Senate leaders have repeatedly said that money for the wall cannot be approved in the Senate, where Democrats have sufficient votes to block the legislation.

So far, neither side has been willing to negotiate, leaving roughly 25 percent of the government without funding. Democrats say they have been willing to negotiate with the White House on more money for border security, but they do not trust that Trump will accept any agreement.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., say they are getting conflicting guidance from White House aides.

“Different people from the same White House are saying different things about what the president would accept or not accept to end his Trump Shutdown, making it impossible to know where they stand at any given moment,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a statement released on Christmas Eve. “The president wanted the shutdown, but he seems not to know how to get himself out of it.”

Trump insists Democrats are to blame, despite an earlier statement that he would personally take credit for a shutdown if one were to occur. He went on to claim without evidence that most of the workers who are being harmed by loss of wages in the shutdown vote for Democrats.

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