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Ted Cruz, Texas Republican: Trump ‘willing to meet in the middle’ with Democrats over shutdown

Sen. Ted Cruz said Sunday that Democrats’ refusal to negotiate with President Trump over his funding for the border wall is not reasonable, suggesting the blame for the country’s longest government shutdown is on them for refusing to budge.

The Texas Republican called Democratic leaders’ position “extreme,” noting they were willing to fund 350 miles of border barriers in 2013 but now are refusing to fund roughly 234 miles.

“The Democrats’ position can’t be, ‘We are going to force a shutdown,’” Mr. Cruz said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“The president has said over and over again … he is more than willing to compromise. He is willing to meet in the middle,” he added. “The only thing [Democrats] are willing to consider is zero … that is not reasonable.”

Mr. Trump also has called on Democrats to come to the negotiating table and devise an agreement to fund the government and his wall, pointing out in tweets over the weekend that he is the only one in Washington while Democrats are out “having fun.”

“I’m in the White House, waiting. The Democrats are everywhere but Washington as people await their pay. They are having fun and not even talking!” he tweeted Sunday.

“The damage done to our Country from a badly broken Border — Drugs, Crime and so much that is bad — is far greater than a Shutdown, which the Dems can easily fix as soon as they come back to Washington!” Mr. Trump added.

On Friday, roughly 800,000 government workers missed a paycheck due to the shutdown standoff between the parties.

Democrats contend that Mr. Trump proudly proclaimed he would take the blame for the partial government shutdown during the televised Oval Office meeting last month with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and now-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Sen. Tim Kaine said the president “blew up” Capitol Hill talks between Democrats and Republicans about funding part of the border wall in exchange for protecting children brought into the country illegally with the parents.

“We are trying to work a deal over the weekend to open the government,” Mr. Kaine, Virginia Democrat, told NBC. “President Trump blew up the negotiations.”

He said Democrats support border security but don’t see a wall as being effective. He noted taht most drugs enter the U.S. through ports of entry so the money should be spent beefing up those areas.

“What we don’t want to do is waste taxpayer money,” Mr. Kaine said.

But House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, Louisiana Republican, told ABC’s “This Week” that Democrats don’t want to reach a solution.

“Not one single time has Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer put a counter offer on the table,” Mr. Scalise said.

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