WASHINGTON – There are about two weeks until large sections of the government could shut down again, but neither President Donald Trump nor House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appear ready to back off their positions on funding for Trump's proposed southern border wall.
"There's not going to be any wall money in the legislation," Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters on Thursday morning as congressional Democrats unveiled their opening offer for border security funding, part of a formal negotiating process currently underway on Capitol Hill.
Last week, Trump signed a short-term measure, which lacked funding for a wall despite his demands, to reopen the government and end a record-long shutdown. But as negotiators from both parties met to begin hammering out a deal that could pass the House and Senate, 16 blocks away at the White House, Trump was eagerly playing the role of third man in the room.
"I don't expect much coming out of this committee," Trump told reporters at a midday photo-op. "I keep hearing the words 'we'll give you what you want.' The problem is, if they don't give us a wall, it doesn't work. Without a wall, it doesn't work."
Trump accused Pelosi of "just playing games," and said that if the committee reached an agreement by the Feb. 15 deadline that did not contain adequate wall funding, "I don't even want to waste my time reading what they have, because it's a waste of time. Because the only thing that works for security and safety for our country is a wall."
The president's tone appeared to shut the door on what had, briefly on Thursday, seemed like a potential opening from Pelosi, albeit one buried in the details of her proposal.