WASHINGTON (WCMH/NEXSTAR) — Ohio congresswoman Joyce Beatty held the gavel as Democrats took control of the United States House of Representatives Thursday and passed a bill aimed at ending the government shutdown, but lawmakers have hit a wall.
Beatty was named Speaker Pro Temp this week by returning Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Democrats tried to find a way to end the shutdown without supporting President Donald Trump’s demand for $5 billion to fund a wall on the southern border of the United States.
Trump said he’s optimistic that Congress will reach a deal to end the partial shutdown, which has now being going on for more than two weeks.
“We’re all on the same path in terms of wanting to get government open,” Trump said Friday. However, the president also said he’s willing to keep the shutdown going for months or even a year unless Congress approves funding for the border wall.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Pelosi said the meeting with Trump was contentious but productive.
“We are committed to keeping our borders safe,” Pelosi said.
So far, the shutdown has affected an estimated 800,000 government employees. Many have been forced to work without pay or to not work at all. NBC4’s Washington correspondent Mark Meredith asked the president what those workers, many of whom are likely worried about their rent checks and paying bills, should do in the meantime.
“Hey, I’ve been a long time. I’ve been in the real estate business a long time,” Trump replied. “I think they [bill collectors] will [go easy on furloughed workers].”
Trump has asked Vice President Mike Pence to lead negotiations with congressional leaders over the weekend, and the president said he expects to invite the group back to the White House for more talks next week.