The Latest: Rank-and-file Dems invited to lunch with Trump


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and the partial government shutdown (all times local):

4:50 p.m.

About a dozen new House Democrats walked across the chilly Capitol grounds to personally ask Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass bills that would reopen parts of the government. But McConnell was on the Senate floor, managing a vote at the time.

Rep. Ilhan Omar glanced up at the chandeliers in McConnell’s suite as his staff let the group into an inner parlor. The Minnesota Democrat told reporters: “We’re here to remind Mitch McConnell that he works for the people and not for this administration.”

The new Democrats left contact information with a spokesman. Then they headed back to the House — or so they thought. Some of them turned left, at first, toward the Senate chamber.

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Someone in their retinue said quietly that the House was in the other direction.


3:25 p.m.

The House has rejected a Democratic-sponsored bill to reopen the federal government though Feb. 1.

The bill is one of two that Democrats proposed this week to end the partial government shutdown that began Dec. 22. The second bill would reopen federal agencies through Feb. 28.

The House voted 237-187 in favor of the bill, but the measure failed because it did not have the required two-thirds support.

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey says the shutdown is creating pain and misery for families, businesses and communities across the U.S.

The New York Democrat says the Democratic bills would end the shutdown while allowing time for bipartisan talks on border security.


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3:05 p.m.

A group of Republican lawmakers who met with President Donald Trump says it’s time for Democrats to come the negotiating table to end the partial government shutdown now in its fourth week.

The White House had also invited rank-and-file House Democrats to the luncheon, bypassing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other party leaders, but they declined to attend.

Republican Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois says that “if you don’t show up at the table, how are we ever going to come to a solution?”

Republican Rep. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio says drug dealers don’t have a problem going back and forth across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Federal officials says the most common trafficking technique is to hide drugs in vehicles coming into the U.S. though land entry ports, where the vehicles are stopped and subject to inspection.


2:55 p.m.

Senators are planning to skip a scheduled recess next week and stay in session if the government shutdown continues.

That’s according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who told reporters the chamber “will not be on recess if the government is shut down.”

Earlier Tuesday the House announced that it would also remain in session, abandoning the scheduled break.

The recess week was expected to be the first of the new Congress and some lawmakers already scheduled town halls and other events in their home states.

The partial government shutdown is now in its fourth week with no resolution in sight as President Donald Trump demands money to build his long-promised border wall with Mexico.


2:20 p.m.

A charitable organization that offers financial aid to U.S. Coast Guard officers and employees has received a $15 million donation for the military branch to help during the partial government shutdown.

Admiral Karl Schultz said in a letter to the Coast Guard on Tuesday that Coast Guard Mutual Assistance received the donation from USAA. The funding will be distributed through the Red Cross to those who need it.

The Coast Guard is the only member of the military affected by the shutdown because it falls under the Department of Homeland Security. The shutdown is into its fourth week over funding for a border wall.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says she is trying to work with lawmakers to fund the Coast Guard during the shutdown.


12:50 p.m.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says the House will not take its scheduled recess next week if the government is still partially shut down.

The Maryland Democrat told reporters the House will be in session from Jan. 22 to Jan. 25 if the shutdown is still not resolved.

The House is set to go on a 10-day recess after Thursday’s session, but Hoyer’s office said members will be subject to a 24-hour notice to come back over the weekend to vote if needed on legislation to reopen the government.

The House and Senate are both scheduled to be on recess next week in honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday.


12:10 p.m.

The White House says rank-and-file House Democrats have declined President Donald Trump’s invitation for a White House lunch as the administration tries to build support for funding the border wall with Mexico amid the government shutdown.

The rebuff Tuesday showed the limits of the White House’s new strategy of trying to bypass Democratic leaders to peel off Democratic support for Trump’s position.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said instead of a bipartisan lunch, nine House Republicans are confirmed to attend. She said the president “looks forward to having a working lunch with House Republicans to solve the border crisis and reopen the government.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave her blessing for Democrats to attend if they wished. The White House did not say how many Democrats were invited. Pelosi and her leadership team have met several times with Trump during the shutdown, now in its 25th day. Trump walked out of their most recent meeting.


9:55 a.m.

The White House has invited rank-and-file House Democrats to lunch with President Donald Trump, bypassing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other party leaders as part of a strategy to peel off centrist and freshman lawmakers to support funding his U.S.-Mexico border wall.

An aide says Pelosi gave lawmakers her blessing to attend Tuesday, telling her leadership team that the group can see what she and others have been dealing with during the shutdown. The aide was not authorized to publicly discuss the private session and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Pelosi and her team have met several times with Trump during the shutdown, now in its 25th day. Trump walked out of their most recent meeting.

Capitol Hill aides say the lawmakers going to the White House include centrist Democrats from districts were Trump is popular, including freshmen.


By Lisa Mascaro.


12:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump says resolving the partial government shutdown is so simple that declaring a national emergency shouldn’t be necessary and that he’s not looking to do so.

While Trump edged away from the idea of going around Congress to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, he also declared Monday that he would “never back down” from pursuing it.

Democratic lawmakers also gave no indication they were backing off their opposition to funding the wall.

The White House has been considering reaching out to rank-and-file Democrats rather than dealing with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to try and chip away at Democratic opposition.

In the Senate, several senators from both parties met Monday to discuss ways to end the gridlock.

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