Trump remains firm on wall, no House votes on Thursday

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE on Wednesday reiterated his demand that $5 billion for a border wall be included in any spending legislation that would end a partial government shutdown that is now in its fifth day.

“Whatever it takes. We need a wall. We need safety for our country. Even from this standpoint. We have terrorists coming in through the southern border,” he told reporters during an unannounced trip to Iraq to visit with U.S. troops.

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Trump added that he intends to hold a "groundbreaking" at the U.S. border with Mexico before next year’s State of the Union address.

The border wall has been the focal point of negotiations between Congress and the White House. The Senate last week passed a government funding bill without border wall funding, and Trump declared the next day, after facing pressure from conservative allies, that he would not sign a spending bill that doesn't include money for his signature campaign promise.

The House then passed a bill with $5.7 billion in wall funding, though it was considered dead on arrival in the Senate, where it's unlikely to receive the 60 votes needed to advance.

Democrats in both chambers have declared their opposition to the border wall, with House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDonald Trump proved himself by winning fight for border security Trump should beware the 'clawback' Congress The national emergency will haunt Republicans come election season MORE (Calif.) calling it a “non-starter.” 

“Nancy Pelosi is calling the shots, not Chuck," Trump said on Wednesday, referring to Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration MORE (D-N.Y.). "And Chuck wants to have this done, I really believe that. But she’s calling the shots, and she’s calling them because she wants the votes and probably if they do something she’s not going to get the votes and she’s not going to Speaker of the House and that would not be good for her.”

In the latest sign that the two sides are not close to striking a deal, House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Texas man with politician hit list, illegally 3D printed rifle sentenced to eight years The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Will there be any last-minute shutdown drama? MORE’s (R-La.) office said Wednesday that no votes in the House are expected on Thursday and that members will get 24 hours' notice when they need to return to Washington for legislative matters.

The partial shutdown has resulted in hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal employees.

If the shutdown extends into next week, Democrats will have significantly more leverage in negotiations starting Jan. 3, when the party takes control of the House. Conservatives have suggested that current negotiations represent Trump’s last chance to make good on his promise for a border wall.

Trump has blamed Democrats for the shutdown, saying they support “open borders” and are against border security. The president previously said he would be “proud” to shut down the government over wall funding.

“I am proud to shut down the government for border security,” Trump told Pelosi and Schumer earlier this month. “I will take the mantle. I will shut it down, I’m not going to blame you for it.”

--This report was updated on Dec. 27 at 6:17 a.m.