White House Slams Democrats for Puerto Rico Vacation During Shutdown

Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders harshly criticized Democratic lawmakers for flying to Puerto Rico for a political event and vacationing during a partial government shutdown.

Democratic lawmakers like New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez were spotted on the beaches of Puerto Rico during a meeting for a political action committee which supports the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The retreat comes on the 24th day of a partial government shutdown, the longest funding lapse in the history of the U.S.

The shutdown is a result of a high-stakes fight between President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders, who refuse to appropriate funding for his proposed wall along the U.S. southern border. Trump is demanding $5.7 billion in funding for a border barrier of some kind with Democratic lawmakers saying they will give him no more than $1.6 billion.(Related: Dems Rebuff Trump At Every Turn In Shutdown Negotiations) 

Democrats have refused to budge from their position of $1.6 billion with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi even telling Trump in a situation room meeting last week that even if Trump reopened the government they would not negotiate. Trump is now exploring funding options to begin construction on the wall, including declaring a national emergency.

The president has said publicly that he has the “absolute right” to declare an emergency if he wanted to, but is holding out hope that a deal can be made with Congress.

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