Nancy Pelosi
Nancy PelosiReuters

Democrats on Saturday rejected US President Donald Trump’s proposal to end the partial government shutdown, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) calling the deal a “non-starter.”

Trump, in a televised address from the White House, offered Democrats a compromise package on immigration in an effort to end the nearly monthlong shutdown.

The President announced that he was prepared to back a three-year extension of protections for 700,000 immigrants who came to the country illegally as children and were shielded from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This, in exchange for the $5.7 billion he has requested for a barrier on the southern border with Mexico.

However, Pelosi rejected Trump’s proposal even before he had presented it

“Democrats were hopeful that the President was finally willing to re-open government and proceed with a much-need discussion to protect the border. Unfortunately, initial reports make clear that his proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives,” she said in a statement quoted by The Hill.

“It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-starter,” added Pelosi.

Pelosi slammed the deal for not including “the permanent solution for the Dreamers and TPS recipients that our country needs and supports.”

The partial government shutdown, which has dragged on for 29 days, is the result of Republicans and Democrats being unable to come to an agreement over Trump’s demand for funding for a well along the US-Mexico border.

Trump has made clear he will not sign a bill to open the government unless it includes that funding, while Democrats have refused to consider his proposal for a $5.7 billion wall, instead offering $1.3 billion for general border security.

On January 8, Trump gave an address to the nation from the Oval Office, in which he explained his reasoning for demanding a wall along the border with Mexico.

He explained that the US could no longer accommodate immigrants who enter the country illegally and warned of “a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border”.

The wall, said Trump, would cost $5.7 billion and “at the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier and not a concrete wall.” The President insisted “the border wall would very quickly pay for itself.”

He noted that the government shutdown continues because Democrats “will not fund border security.”

Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) later responded to Trump’s remarks, with Pelosi dismissing Trump’s claims and saying that “much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice.”

“President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must re-open the government,” she added.