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Trump Warns Government Shutdown Could Last a Long Time

President reaffirmed his goal of securing border wall funding on Wednesday and said, 'Democrats are looking to 2020'

President Donald Trump warned on Wednesday that the ongoing government shutdown could last a long time ahead of his anticipated meeting with congressional leaders.

The commander-in-chief and Democratic leaders have been at an impasse over the $5 billion needed to fund a border security wall.

The disagreement drove the government to a partial shutdown on December 22.

Trump reaffirmed his commitment to getting border wall funding by warning during a Cabinet meeting that the partial government shutdown could last a long time.

“The government could be shut down for a long time, as long as it takes,” Trump said at the meeting.

“We’re in a shutdown because of the fact that the Democrats are looking to 2020. They don’t think they’re going to win the election. I guess a lot of signs point to them not winning the election,” he added.

“I hope they don’t win the election.”

Related: House Dems Unveil Plan to End Gov’t Shutdown Without Border Wall Funding

Trump added that the shutdown could also end fairly quickly, but that it’s up to the Democrats.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has resisted providing any funds for a wall while the president has threatened to veto spending bills that don’t include it.

Both sides have remained firmly entrenched in their respective positions as the shutdown continues.

“But they view it as an election point to them,” Trump said. “I actually think it’s bad politics, but I’m not thinking of the politics. I am thinking of what’s right and what’s wrong.”

Schumer planned to attend the meeting with the president on Wednesday, along with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Pelosi is expected to become speaker when the new session starts on Thursday, January 3.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and Sen. Steve Scalise (R-La.) are also planning to attend the White House meeting.

Schumer had previously said he was only willing to provide the $1.6 billion for border security that cannot go to the construction of a border wall.

He later reduced that figure to $1.3 billion during a previous meeting with the president before the shutdown on December 11.

The meeting quickly turned into an argument and left both sides without a deal.

Trump said he would take the blame for the shutdown in the name of border security during the contentious meeting.

But he later argued the Democrats would be at fault if they didn’t vote for border security. Schumer has instead insisted that the shutdown is the fault of the president.

The shutdown came after several failed attempts to avert it through meetings and temporary spending proposals.

McConnell introduced a continuing resolution days before the shutdown to keep the government funded at current levels until February 8. The bill eventually failed after facing opposition from within the party when it got to the House.

Democratic leaders later proposed a package of two bills to end the impasse with the shutdown already well underway. The package would fund the rest of the federal government, with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security. That department would be temporarily funded through February 8 to give both sides time to reach a deal on border security.

Trump has rejected the proposal because it doesn’t include border wall funding.

Related: Trump Prepared to Weather Shutdown, Says Florida Republican

Lawmakers already had to pass a continuing resolution to fund the federal government for two weeks to avoid a shutdown on December 7. An earlier spending bill also included a continuing resolution that extended the original deadline on September 30.

Congress was able to fund most of the government months earlier; but it still has seven spending bills remaining.

The first minibus package covered energy, the legislative branch, military construction and veterans affairs with billions of dollars in additional funding. The second minibus package includes billions of dollars that primarily go toward defense, labor, health services and education along with the continuing resolution.

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Connor D. Wolf covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at [email protected].