Democrats decline shutdown meeting at White House

World Today

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., left, Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., and other freshmen members of the House of Representatives walk to the Senate side to speak about the government shutdown on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The U.S. government marks day 25 of the longest partial shutdown in U.S. history. And there’s no sign that either side is any closer to ending it.

Tuesday, the White House invited both house Democrats and Republicans to discuss a deal. No Democrats accepted.

CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.

“Is Trump inviting Dems to White House ‘to resolve this problem or to create a photo-op, so he can project a false sense of bipartisanship,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries, a democratic congressman of New York.

“As Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi refuse to negotiate, President Donald J. Trump and his team are working hard to find solutions,” responded White House spokesperson, Sarah Sanders.

“It’s time for the Democrats to come to the table and make a deal.”

“I’ll meet with him any time he wants,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader. “The last time I spoke to him he walked out! He had a temper tantrum.”

But the White House is still demanding $5.7 billion for a border wall – as a condition for re-opening the government.

The president’s strategy of making this dispute an argument over border security versus Democrat demands to open the government before negotiations resume.

The U.S. shutdown is now the longest on record. As it continues to go on, opinion polls increasingly show that most Americans blame their commander-in-chief. According to a recent Ipsos poll, only about one in three Americans believe in keeping the government closed until there is funding for a wall along the Mexican border.

Meanwhile, the shutdown’s impact is spreading. Travelers at the world’s busiest airport – Atlanta’s Hartsfield_Jackson – waited more than an hour at security checkpoints, and the agency which runs those checkpoints – the TSA – reports unscheduled absences for staff are nearly triple what they were a year ago.

TSA agents are forced to work without pay.

“I’m a single mom. My son just graduated his first two years of college. He’s going back. I’m not getting paid,” said TSA Employee, Christine Vitel. “I just bought a house, I’m not going to be able to pay for my mortgage.”

U.S. stock exchanges aren’t welcoming new IPO’s. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has furloughed almost all its staff. For the duration of the partial shutdown, this will cut off a key source of capital for startups.