Trump Says Shutdown Could Go on ‘Months or Even Years’

WASHINGTON (CN) – A Friday meeting between congressional leaders and President Donald Trump produced no resolution to the ongoing partial government shutdown, as Trump said he would be willing to keep the government closed for “months or even years” until he gets the funding he has demanded for a border wall.

Congressional leaders went to the White House on Friday for their second meeting with Trump this week, but emerged saying the two sides remain unable to strike a deal. The meeting comes a day after the Democrat-controlled House passed a funding package that would reopen the government. The shutdown has now stretched into its 14th day.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks to reporters after meeting with President Donald Trump about border security at the White House on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the meeting “somewhat contentious,” but told reporters afterwards there was “some progress” during the sit down as it clarified each side’s positions in the fight. 

“How do you define progress in a meeting?” Pelosi said. “When you have a better understanding of each other’s position, when you eliminate some possibilities? If that’s the judgment, then we made some progress.” 

But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Trump told him he would be willing to keep the government closed for “months or even years.”

Trump later confirmed he made the threat during the meeting, though he said he hopes the shutdown will come to an end soon.

Schumer called on the White House to agree to reopen the government and then continue negotiations on money for a wall along the southern border.

“It’s very hard to see how progress will be made unless they open up the government,” Schumer told reporters outside of the White House on Friday afternoon. 

The package the House passed Thursday consists of two separate spending bills, the first of which funds the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8. The second provides money through Sept. 30 for the remaining agencies hit by the partial shutdown.

The sticking point is over House Democrats’ refusal to include new money for Trump’s long-promised border wall in either of their funding bills and Trump’s refusal to sign any package that does not include funding for his key campaign promise. 

Though the House passed a package that would end the shutdown, the measure appears doomed in the Senate, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said the Senate will not pass legislation on the shutdown that Trump will not sign. The White House on Thursday issued a veto threat for both of the bills the House passed. 

In remarks from the Rose Garden after the meeting, Trump called the day “very, very productive” and said negotiations have “come a long way.” He said he has invited congressional leadership to put together a team of negotiators to meet with a White House group over the weekend to work towards a resolution on the shutdown. 

Vice President Mike Pence will lead the White House’s team, which will also include senior adviser Jared Kushner and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. 

Representative Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., also said congressional leadership will be invited back to the White House next week and that Friday’s talks were more productive than those that took place earlier this week.

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