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White House, Dems can’t even agree on status of potential shutdown talks

On 32nd day, Trump spox says Pelosi ’refuses’ to chat. Her office says she has no WH invite

Garbage overflows a trash can on the National Mall across from the White House on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. The National Park Service, which is responsible for trash removal, is not operating due to the government shut down. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Garbage overflows a trash can on the National Mall across from the White House on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. The National Park Service, which is responsible for trash removal, is not operating due to the government shut down. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The White House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi began the 32nd day of the government shutdown bickering about invitations to talk as no new negotiations are planned amid a stalemate with no end in sight.

Democrats on Saturday rejected a proposal that would trade temporary protections for undocumented migrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, for Donald Trump’s desired $5.7 billion for a southern border wall before the president even began describing it in a late-afternoon address.

The Senate is expected to take up a version of the Trump proposal this week, but so far, no Democratic senator has said they will vote to end debate and move to a final decision. That procedural vote would need 60 senators voting to shut down debate, meaning if all GOP senators voted yes, they would still need seven Democrats to cross the aisle.

[ANALYSIS: White House flashes urgency on shutdown — but actual goal is murky]

With that proposal likely headed nowhere, Trump and congressional Democratic leaders eventually will have to start talking again. The president earlier this month said only the “principals” will strike a final deal. But on Monday, a White House spokesman signaled no new negotiations between Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi — who have been locked in a bitter back-and-forth battle — are on the horizon.

“She won’t even have a conversation with the president,” Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said Tuesday.

He then referred to the last time Trump and Pelosi talked: a Jan. 9 Situation Room meeting that the president walked out of after a back-and-forth with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.

Watch: Chaos in the House, Hamilton and Senate Judiciary is all about Bill Barr’s grandson: Congressional Hits and Misses

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After bickering with Schumer, Trump turned to the speaker and asked whether she would support his border barrier demands within 30 days if he were to open the shuttered government agencies.

“She had a one-word answer: ‘no,’” Gidley told Fox News, leaving out the president’s insistence on getting all of his border wall funding that day. “And that’s where we stand right now.”

[Trump raises possibility of amnesty, a move that could further infuriate his base]

But a spokesman for Pelosi dismissed Gidley’s assessment of the current state of talks.

“We have received no request to meet or even to have a phone call,” the Pelosi spokesman said.

What’s more, Pelosi and Schumer — echoed by Democratic members and the party’s growing slate of 2020 White House hopefuls — repeatedly have called on Trump to reopen the government before serious negotiations about his border barrier can start.

Sen. Mark Warner said Trump’s new proposal for a border security plan could serve as a “starting point” for negotiations if the shutdown were brought to an end.

“I’ll use that as a starting point, but you’ve got to start by opening the government,” the Virginia Democrat said Sunday.

“We cannot reward the kind of behavior of hostage-taking,” Warner said. “If the president can arbitrarily shutdown the government now, he will do it time and again.”

Trump used several Monday evening and Tuesday morning tweets to tout the coming Senate vote and try to pressure Pelosi and her party.

Meanwhile, Gidley declined to comment on whether the president will deliver his second State of the Union address as planned on Jan. 29 from the House chamber.

“We have no announcement at this time. Nancy Pelosi will not dictate when he can or cannot have a conversation with the American people,” Gidley said. “Nancy Pelosi is playing politics with that venue. There are many ways he can deliver the State of the Union address.”

Last week, the speaker cited security concerns because of the shutdown in asking Trump to consider delaying the address or handing it over to lawmakers in writing. That prompted him to pull the plug on her planned trip with other congressional Democrats to Afghanistan, a move that included nixing all such lawmaker overseas trips as long as a quarter of the government is closed.

David Lerman contributed to this report.

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