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    'Planning a Steel Barrier': Trump Gushes Over VP-Dem Meeting on Govt Shutdown

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump said there was a "productive" meeting of Vice President Mike Pence with House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer amid a partial US government shutdown.

    "V.P. Mike Pence and group had a productive meeting with the Schumer/Pelosi representatives today. Many details of Border Security were discussed. We are now planning a Steel Barrier rather than concrete. It is both stronger & less obtrusive", Trump said on Twitter.

    Trump told reporters on Friday that he had designated a group to meet over the weekend to address border security issues amid the government shutdown talks with Democrats.

    US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Friday that the meeting over the weekend would be an attempt for Trump's top people to come up with an agreement to recommend to congressional leaders to end the government shutdown.

    The US government shut down on 22 December after Democrats refused to provide $5.6 billion in next year’s budget to build a wall on the southern border as Trump has demanded.

    READ MORE: US Authorities Fire Tear Gas Against Migrants at Mexico Border — Reports

    Lawmakers in the US House, which now has a Democratic majority, passed two resolutions – H.R. 21 and 1 — to reopen the federal government despite the fact that the White House Budget Office on Thursday said the Trump administration would veto the spending bills because they lacked border security funding. In addition, leaders of the Republican-controlled Senate vowed to reject the resolution for the very same reason.

    H.R. 21 would fund the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Justice, Interior, State, Transportation, and the Treasury through 30 September, while H.R. 1 would fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through 8 February.

    Donald Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall on the US southern border without congressional approval after failing to reach a deal with lawmakers to reopen the federal government which has been partially shut down for two weeks.

    Building a wall on the US-Mexico border was one of Trump's key promises throughout his presidential campaign. The president believes that the wall will stop undocumented migration, as well as human and drugs trafficking.

    A go-fund-me campaign reported earlier this week that nearly $20 million has been collected from private donors for a wall, far short of the $5.6 billion demanded by the president.

    Currently there is nearly 600 miles worth of barrier, primarily consisting of 16-foot high fencing, along the 1,900-mile US-Mexico border. Trump wants to erect steel and/or concrete walls over 30 feet tall on more than 200 miles of the border that would include new and replacement barriers.

    READ MORE: Trump Threatens to Close S Border Completely if Democrats Refuse to Finance Wall

    In late November, Mexican authorities said that more than 8,200 asylum-seeking migrants from Central America reached Mexico, with around 7,400 of them staying near the cities of Tijuana and Mexicali just south of the US border in California. The caravan began its trek in October with more than 1,500 Honduran migrants crossing into Guatemala en route to the United States. Following the Honduran migrants, more caravans followed suit.

    The Trump administration responded by deploying active duty military personnel to the border to assist US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The Defense Department provided support such as reinforcing priority ports of entry in the border states of Texas, Arizona and California. The Defense Department also deployed engineers and military police units, as well as troops who specialize in aviation, medical treatment and logistic.

    Related:

    Open Letter From US Pilots to Trump: End Shutdown Due to Airspace Safety Threat
    What Is the US Government Shutdown and What Can Be Done in Washington to End It?
    ‘Wall Will Never Be Built’: Notorious Mexican Psychic on Trump’s Shutdown Demand
    Econ 101: Trump Gov’t Shutdown Costs More Than His Border Wall Budget
    Trump: Dems Can Solve Shutdown Very Quickly by Approving REAL Border Security
    Tags:
    border wall, migration, government shutdown, Donald Trump, United States
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