President Trump and congressional leaders failed again on Friday to break a deadlock that has kept the government partially shut down for two weeks, and the top Senate Democrat said the president threatened to keep agencies closed for “months or even years.”
Emerging from what they called a “sometimes contentious” meeting at the White House, Democratic leaders said Mr. Trump remained adamant that he would not sign spending bills to reopen the shuttered offices unless Congress approved money for his wall on the southern border.
“We told the president we needed the government open,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, told reporters outside the White House. “He resisted. In fact, he said he’d keep the government closed for a very long period of time, months or even years.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said her party was committed to securing the border but wants the government reopened while they negotiate that. “We can do that best when government is open,” she said. “We’ve made that clear to the president.”
On Friday, the president sent a letter to Congress that was an unsubtle rebuff to Democratic leaders with whom he had met on Wednesday. According to a person in the meeting, Ms. Pelosi cut off the Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen as she was reeling off statistics about the border. In his letter, Mr. Trump said that “some of those present did not want to hear the presentation at the time, and so I have instead decided to make the presentation available to all Members of Congress.”
As lawmakers and the president were meeting, White House aides appeared to be readying the Rose Garden for an appearance by Mr. Trump afterward.
The shutdown, which enters its third week on Saturday, has left about 800,000 workers without pay, limited the functions of federal agencies and slowed the court system. There are also concerns that if the shutdown continues for several more weeks, it will harm the overall economy.