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Communications Breakdown Between Trump, Democrats as Shutdown Enters a Second Week

12-31-2018
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President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

WASHINGTON – Negotiations between President Donald Trump and Democrats are at a standstill as the government shutdown drags into its 10th day.

The president and Democratic leaders traded punches via Twitter, but that's about as far as the communications have gone.

"We've heard nothing. A negotiation by definition has to include both sides," White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told CNN's "State of the Union."

Meanwhile, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is facing scrutiny after a second Guatemalan child, 8-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo, died while in US custody.

The CBP calls the death "devastating" and says it's making changes to prevent future tragedies.

"Secretary (Kirstjen) Nielsen and I have directed that we do medical checks of children 17 and under as they come into our process," CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told ABC News

He also defended the actions of border agents.

"In Felipe's case, it was actually a Border Patrol agent who noticed his symptoms and made the decision to take him and his father to the emergency room, where he had the treatment of doctors in Alma Gorda, New Mexico," said McAleenan.

Meanwhile, the president lays the blame for the shutdown at the feet of Democrats. But at least one Senate Republican says it's time to move past the blame game.

"Nobody wins in a shutdown. We all lose and we kind of look silly," said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL). 

"If we blame each other, this could last a long, long time," said Shelby. 

It isn't the longest shutdown in history, but it does affect the income of several hundred thousand federal employees. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) met with the president Sunday to pitch a solution he says will appeal to both parties.

"I know there's some Democrats out there who would be willing to provide money for wall/border security if we could deal with a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) population," said Graham.

His plan would give $5 billion for the border wall in exchange for renewable work permits for Dreamers. 

Meanwhile, then there are discrepancies over that word 'wall.' The president recently tweeted a picture of steel slats.

In an interview with LA Times, outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly suggested the administration had moved away from the idea of a "concrete" wall early on. 

"The president still says 'wall' — oftentimes frankly he'll say 'barrier' or 'fencing'; now he's tended toward steel slats," Kelly told the Times. "But we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it."

Democrats are reminding the president he campaigned on a wall – one that Mexico would pay for.

"He's trying to extract $5 billion from the American taxpayer to pay for something that clearly would be ineffective. We'll look at whatever agreements he ultimately presents, but that is not a credible proposed solution," said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

Meanwhile, McAleenan suggests a solution comes from a multi-faceted approach, including humanitarian efforts in Central America, technology and a barrier wall.

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