New Congress takes office this week as shutdown continues

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As a new Congress gets ready to take office, lawmakers will have a lot on their plate right from the start.

When the new Congress is sworn in Thursday, it will be day 13 of the partial government shutdown. While Democrats, who will take control of the House of Representatives, are expected to pass legislation that will end the shutdown, it might not matter. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office says the Senate will not take action on it if it doesn’t have President Donald Trump’s support.

At the heart of the shutdown issue is border security and the president’s proposed wall at the Mexican border. President Trump several times on the topic Tuesday, accusing Democrats of not caring about border security with a second calling on Democratic leaders to make a deal.

But Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow puts the blame, squarely back on President Trump. 

“There’s no reason for this shutdown,” she said. “The problem that we have is the president keeps changing his mind and is not working with us on what real border security and homeland security means, and that’s what we need. We need to be safe, we need to listen to the experts who say it’s about staffing and technology.”

Senator Stabenow says she’s also confident legislation to fund the government would make it through the senate.

“This is something the senate already passed and sent to the house, and they didn’t take it up because the president changed his mind,” she said. “Now the house is going to send it back, I hope the senate republican leader will take it up. It’ll pass, for sure, if he does.”

The White House has invited congressional leaders to attend a West Wing briefing Wednesday on border security. 

That’s according to a congressional source who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the invitation.

The top and second-ranking Democrats and Republicans in both chambers are invited to attend, according to the person, who said the agenda and other attendees were unknown.

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