Congressional Democrat leaders elected not to attend a budget-focused meeting with President Donald Trump on Tuesday. This increases chances of a government shutdown in December, with little hope of the two sides reaching agreement. Republican Congressional leaders and the President went ahead with the meeting after being informed that the House of Representative’s top Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, would not attend.
Trump attacked the Democrats as the cameras rolled, saying they were ‘all talk’ and now, they were not even that. Empty chairs on either side of Trump during the meeting emphasized the non-attendance. Pelosi and Schumer said they decided not to attend the meeting because of a tweet by the President earlier in the day, which said the Democrats were keen on higher taxes but weak on immigration, and reluctant to come to a deal.
Pelosi said that Trump was more interested in publicity stunts than attending to the needs of Americans, but Trump insisted that any government shutdown would be entirely the fault of the Democrats.
The deadline for a spending measure required for the funding of an array of government programs is 8 December. Democrats say they want help for deferred action recipients, whose status is set to expire in March 2018, before cooperating in passing the measure. But, Trump appears unimpressed by the stand-off, saying that he won the Presidency on his anti-illegal immigration stance and will not be threatened with a government shutdown to force him to concede to Democrat demands.