- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 2, 2019

President Trump has invited top members of Congress to attend a briefing Wednesday with border officials to school them on the need for a border fence, as he searches for a way out of the shutdown impasse.

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the meeting late Tuesday, as she declared Democrats’ plans, championed by Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi, for a bill to fund most of the government but to ignore the border wall fight a no-go.

“The Pelosi plan is a non-starter because it does not fund our homeland security or keep American families safe from human trafficking, drugs and crime,” Mrs. Sanders said.

Part of the government has been shut down since Dec. 22, when funding expired for dozens of departments and agencies. The holdup is Mr. Trump’s demand for $5 billion to build a border wall, and Democrats’ refusal to add any new money for that project.

Mr. Trump has said he would accept less than the $5 billion and, at times, has suggested he would retreat from his blustery vision of a “wall,” saying metal slat fencing — the type the Border Patrol prefers — will now be good enough. But even there he has undermined that position, taking to Twitter to say that he’ll still build a concrete wall in some areas.

Democrats, for their part, have refused negotiations, insisting the shuttered government departments be reopened before serious talks begin.

Their latest offer, which they have vowed to push through the House on Thursday, when they take control of the chamber, would combine full-year funding for most closed departments with a one-month extension for Homeland Security.

That, they said, would separate the wall fight from the shutdown.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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