The Latest: Democrats seek equal airtime after Trump speech




 

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on the government shutdown (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer say Democrats should be given equal airtime after TV networks air President Donald Trump's scheduled address to the nation Tuesday night.

The Democratic leaders released a joint statement Monday, a day before Trump plans to brief the nation on his plans for a U.S.-Mexico wall and the status of the partial government shutdown, now in its 17th day. He plans to argue Tuesday that the "crisis" at the border requires the border wall he's demanding to end the shutdown.

Pelosi and Schumer say if Trump's past statements are an indicator, his address will be "full of malice and misinformation."

Trump is seeking $5.6 billion for the border wall, which he had insisted Mexico would pay for.

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7:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump's prime-time address to the nation about the southern border will be aired live Tuesday by the major broadcast and cable television networks.

Representatives for ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, MSNBC and NBC confirmed plans to air Trump's address Tuesday night. Trump tweeted that he will speak at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Trump is delivering the address amid a partial government shutdown due to a stalemate with congressional Democrats over $5 billion the president wants to for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats are refusing to pay for a wall.

The speech is part of a public relations blitz by the president on the issue. Trump has scheduled a trip to the border Thursday to highlight his demands for a wall.

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5 p.m.

A Trump administration official says income tax refunds for 2018 will go out on time during the partial government shutdown because rules will be changed to make funding available to pay them.

Russell Vought, acting director of the White House budget office, tells reporters: "The refunds will go out as normal. There is an indefinite appropriation to pay tax refunds."

The IRS may recall a large number of furloughed employees to process returns - probably without pay - in accordance with its contingency plans. But with the shutdown in its third week, concern was growing that hundreds of billions of dollars in refunds would be delayed until the shutdown ends because funding for them wouldn't be available.

Vought says the administration is changing the customary rules "from past administrations."

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4 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence says the White House is looking into the legality of declaring a national emergency to circumvent Congress and begin construction on President Donald Trump's long-promised Southern border wall.

He says Trump continues to weigh the idea but has yet to make a decision.

The comments came as Pence briefed reporters on the 17th day of the partial government shutdown. He was joined by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other senior administration officials.

Pence says the president has invited Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi back to the White House to continue their discussions. But he says Trump isn't budging on his demand for billions for his border wall.

Pence also says he and Nielsen will be visiting the Capitol Tuesday and Wednesday to brief House and Senate members.

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1:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he will address the nation Tuesday night about what says is a "crisis" at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump's prime-time address will come amid a partial government shutdown caused by his insistence that Congress give him more than $5 billion to build a wall on the border. Congressional Democrats are refusing to pay for a wall.

Trump also plans a trip Thursday to the southern border to highlight his demands for the wall.

Trump tweets that he will address the nation at 9 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday.

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12:20 p.m.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says President Donald Trump will be traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border on Thursday as a partial government shutdown continues.

Sanders says Trump will "meet with those on the front lines of the national security and humanitarian crisis. More details will be announced soon."

Trump is showing no signs of budging on his demand for more than $5 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The shutdown has lasted more than two weeks so far with little indication it will end anytime soon.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi intends to begin passing individual bills to reopen agencies in the coming days, starting with the Treasury Department to ensure people receive their tax refunds.

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Newly empowered House Democrats are planning to step up pressure on President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers to reopen the government.

This comes after there was no weekend breakthrough to end a prolonged partial government shutdown, with Trump standing firm in his border wall funding demands.

Trump showed no signs of budging on his demand for more than $5 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, though on Sunday he did offer to build it with steel rather than concrete, a concession Democrats panned.

With the shutdown lurching into a third week, many Republicans watched nervously from the sidelines as hundreds of thousands of federal workers went without pay and government disruptions hit the lives of ordinary Americans.

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