Democrats move toward shutdown showdown by refusing to meet with Trump

Congress has until December 8 to pass a spending bill to avert a government shutdown and Senate Republicans are expected to bring their tax bill to a vote this week.

Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, said it would be hard for Democrats to blame Republicans for a shutdown if they were the ones who walked away from talks with the president.

"Meeting with "Chuck and Nancy" today about keeping government open and working", Trump wrote.

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"If that happens, I would absolutely blame the Democrats", he said.

"We have important work to do, and Democratic leaders have continually found new excuses not to meet with the administration to discuss these issues", the two Republicans said.

The president made his remarks after Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi nixed a meeting at the White House with Republicans to make an end of the year spending bill deal. "Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don't see a deal".

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And he continues to bash political opponents like Democratic congressional leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi as tax-hiking pushovers who are unwilling to bolster law enforcement, the military or the nation's borders.

"We have a lot of differences", Trump said, calling the leaders "all talk" and "no action". "If it happens, it's going to be over illegals pouring into the country, crime pouring into the country, no border wall - which everybody wants".

As McConnell prepared to leave for the meeting at the White House, he said Pelosi and Schumer's protest demonstrated a "lack of seriousness". Pelosi tweeted after Trump's White House session that "his empty chair photo opp showed he's more interested in stunts than in addressing the needs of the American people".

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"If the President reverses course and decides he wants to be a constructive force...we're happy to meet with him anytime, anywhere, anyplace", Schumer told reporters on Tuesday. Lawmakers would like to pass a spending measure to fund the government through the rest of the 2018 fiscal year, which goes through September 30. Now in control of all three levers, Republicans would suffer even more from a shutdown, Democrats said.

His tweet about them on Tuesday helped allay concerns among some Republicans that he might use the meeting to negotiate with Democrats — without significant GOP input — on a budget deal or to protect immigrants who were brought to the USA illegally as children and whose protected status is set to lapse next year. But they can't solve them if they're not talking to each other. Democrats want certain guarantees in any deal, including protections for unauthorized immigrants brought to the USA as children and restored funding for CHIP, the children's health insurance program. Republicans are looking for big increases in defense spending, pointing to growing world trouble spots, while Democrats say they need domestic spending increases.

Another issue is the Children's Health Insurance Program, which has had broad bipartisan support since it was created in 1997.

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  • Jermaine Castillo