Bill Chizek/iStock(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is hosting Democratic and Republican lawmakers at the White House Friday for the second meeting in three days as the government shutdown heads into its third week.
The meeting will largely mirror a Situation Room briefing on border security Wednesday with the same eight members of leadership for both parties in the House and Senate. Friday's briefing will similarly take place in the Situation Room and is not expected to be open to press coverage.
Fresh off her election as House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi is expected to pressure the president to sign a series of measures House Democrats passed Thursday evening that would open the six federal agencies shuttered in the government shutdown and extend Department of Homeland Security funding through Feb. 8 to make time for negotiations on border security.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he would not bring the bills for a vote in his chamber without approval from the president, who has only dug in on his demands for more than $5 billion in funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
But there were new signs of fractures Thursday among Republican members as they await word from the White House on what exactly the president might sign that would satisfy a sufficient number of Democrats to pass out of the Senate, where a 60-vote threshold is required.
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, both said they would support measures that would end the partial shutdown and not provide the funding demanded by the president for his border wall.
Reacting to Gardner and Collins' statements, press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Friday the president wouldn't back down.
"Look the president has the support of the American people because they want to feel safe," Sanders said. "The number one duty that the president has and frankly that Congress shares with him is to protect the people in this country."
Both sides made no progress in the Wednesday meeting as President Trump and DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen sought to exclusively focus on the need for a wall, which Democrats have described as unnecessary and "immoral" in the broader argument for enhanced border security.
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