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Trump, lawmakers set for showdown over border security

Posted: 8:00 AM, Jan 02, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-02 16:00:01Z

President Donald Trump will host a bipartisan group of congressional leadership Wednesday for what the White House is billing as a border security briefing in the White House Situation Room — their first meeting since a partial government shutdown began nearly two weeks ago.

Trump and Democrats are at odds over funding for a border wall. The House is expected to hold a series of votes to open the government just hours after Democrats take control on Thursday, a Democratic aide confirmed to CNN, but Trump is unlikely to sign anything they approve at this stage.

The House plans to expected to vote on a bipartisan package of six Senate spending bills and a stopgap measure to re-open the Department of Homeland Security at its current funding levels until February 8, the aide said. The temporary measure would maintain the current $1.3 billion in border security money, which can be used for fencing and repairs of current barriers.

Trump is expected to meet Wednesday with the eight top congressional leaders: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican Conference Chair John Thune, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, incoming House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and incoming House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, a congressional source familiar with the meeting told CNN .

Department of Homeland Security officials are also expected to attend, according to a senior administration official.

But a Capitol Hill source familiar with the meeting told CNN that few details are known about the briefing, including who will lead it, what else is on the agenda or who else will be there. The source said it "appears to be more of a White House stunt than serious attempt to have a discussion" about the government funding standoff.

Meanwhile, the effects of the partial government shutdown are becoming more apparent.

A total of 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed or working without pay since December 21, and won't receive their next paychecks until the government reopens.

Many workers may be starting to feel the pinch only now that the shutdown is stretching into a new pay period. And banks and credit unions that cater to federal workers are readying financial help for their customers as the government shutdown drags on.

On Monday, a union representing federal workers sued the government for requiring some employees deemed "essential" to work without pay.

The President is also set to hold a Cabinet meeting at noon on his outgoing White House chief of staff John Kelly's last day at work. Mick Mulvaney, Kelly's replacement, has already moved into the chief of staff's office and is expected to address Cabinet officials and a few other senior staff before the meeting. It's unclear if Kelly will attend.