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Pence says 'no deal' to ending shutdown without funding for border wall

Lindsey McPherson, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- "No wall, no deal." That's how Vice President Mike Pence succinctly summed up the administration's position on ending the partial government shutdown, now in its 20th day.

"Because walls work," Pence said Thursday during a press briefing at the Capitol.

The vice president walked the congressional press corps through the administration's offer on ending the shutdown, as outlined in a Sunday letter from the Office of Management and Budget.

"Our proposal is $5.7 billion, which includes a wall, a steel barrier at the southern border," Pence said.

He noted that construction of the barrier would be done in a way that is consistent with language in the Senate version of the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill that seven Democrats supported.

As for the other six appropriations bills that remain unfunded, Pence said the administration will not sign any of them until the wall matter is resolved.

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"Nothing is going to move until we reach an agreement on the Department of Homeland Security and border security," he said.

Like he, President Donald Trump and Republican congressional leaders have done now for weeks, Pence used much of the press briefing to criticize Democrats for not being willing to negotiate, even as they have dug in on their own position.

And even though Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during a White House meeting Wednesday that she's not willing to back the wall -- a nonnegotiable demand for the administration -- Pence noted that Trump and his team are ready to continue talks.

"The White House door is open," he said. "We're ready to go to work."

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