On The Money: Trump digs in on money for wall | Pelosi open to new border 'infrastructure' but no wall | GOP pushes Trump to stay out of negotiations | Trump optimistic about China trade deal

On The Money: Trump digs in on money for wall | Pelosi open to new border 'infrastructure' but no wall | GOP pushes Trump to stay out of negotiations | Trump optimistic about China trade deal
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Happy Thursday and welcome back to On The Money. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL—Trump insists no shutdown deal without wall money: Here we go again.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE said Thursday he will not accept a deal to avert another government shutdown without money for his long-desired border wall, pushing back on Democrats who stressed their opposition to a wall.

"No. Because if there's no wall, it doesn't work," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office when asked if he could accept border measures other than a wall.

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Trump's comments show he remains at an impasse with Democrats over his demand for a wall with a second shutdown looming in just over two weeks. They also raise the likelihood he may circumvent Congress in a bid to build the wall on his own. The Hill's Jordan Fabian explains why.

 

What comes next: Pelosi said earlier Thursday that Democrats remain adamantly opposed to wall funding, but could provide money for new fencing and other barriers in a spending bill.

"There's not going to be any wall money in the legislation," Pelosi said during her weekly press briefing in the Capitol. "However, if they have some suggestions about certain localities where technology, some infrastructure [is appropriate] ... that's part of the negotiation."

 

The snag: While Trump has previously said he would be open to calling structures along the border "steel slats" or a "barrier," he said Thursday he would return to demanding a wall.

"Lets just call them WALLS from now on and stop playing political games! A WALL is a WALL!" Trump tweeted.

Trump also warned in a tweet that Republicans on the panel might be "wasting their time."

 

The bottom line: This all boils down to one fairly semantic but politically crucial test: Whether both sides can strike a deal that allows Trump to say he got his wall and Democrats to say he caved and accepted uncontroversial border security upgrades.

It's hard to say where that middle ground is right now, but it might depend on Trump letting lawmakers work out the finer points.

 

GOP wants room to talk: Republican senators say Trump should stick to the sidelines and let the bipartisan group of appropriators known for their ability to cut deals get to work.

 

LEADING THE DAY

Trump says no talk of extending deadline in Chinese trade talks: President Trump said Thursday there's been no talk of extending a March deadline to reach an agreement with China to avoid imposing increased tariffs on Chinese goods.

However, the president expressed optimism about the chances of reaching a satisfactory deal following talks with a top Beijing representative at the White House.

"I don't think we have to extend it," Trump said of the March 1 deadline while speaking to reporters in the Oval Office during a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

"Now, at a certain point... it's the largest transaction ever made, to be perfectly straight. We have to get this put on paper at some point if we agree. There are some points that we don't agree to yet but I think we will agree," he continued.

"I think when [Chinese President] Xi and myself meet, every point will be agreed to." The Hill's Brett Samuels explains here

 

Weekly jobless claims spike to highest level since September 2017: Jobless claims last week jumped to the highest level since the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, according to Labor Department data released Thursday.

Roughly 253,000 Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits in the week ending Jan. 26, an increase of 53,000 from the previous week.

The spike brought the weekly figures to their highest mark since Sept. 30, 2017 and drove the four-week moving average of unemployment filings to 220,250.

  • U.S. economic activity tends to slow down after the holiday season as consumers cut back on spending and employers shed seasonal workers.
  • But the increase in jobless claims also came near the end of a record-long government shutdown that's projected to cost the economy billions of dollars.

 

GOOD TO KNOW 

 

ODDS AND ENDS