Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN-03) joined a small group of Democratic lawmakers Wednesday for a meeting with President Donald Trump in search of negotiations on ending the government shutdown.
Seven Democratic members of the Problem Solvers Caucus, including Phillips, agreed to attend the meeting, though White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that House Democrats were declining Trump’s invitation.
“I made a promise to the people of Minnesota’s Third District that I would work to end dysfunction in Washington. Congress has offered meaningful solutions and it’s time for the president to end this shutdown so that we can get to the work of securing our borders and ports and passing comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform,” Phillips said in a press release before Wednesday’s meeting. “That is the message I will carry to the White House today.”
The Problem Solvers Caucus, which Phillips joined during his first week in Congress, is composed of an even number of Democrats and Republicans. The Democratic members, however, issued their own joint statement before Wednesday’s meeting.
“There is also a strong agreement that if we reopen the government, the possibility exists to work together and find common ground to tackle some of our country’s toughest problems and fix them,” the statement read. “But that conversation can only begin in earnest once the government is reopened. We accepted the White House’s invitation to meet today to convey that message.”
After the meeting, Sanders said that Trump and “his team had a constructive meeting with bipartisan members of the Problem Solvers Caucus.”
“They listened to one another and now both have a good understanding of what the other wants. We look forward to more conversations like this,” she wrote on Twitter.
“The President and his team had a constructive meeting with bipartisan members of the problem solvers caucus. They listened to one another and now both have a good understanding of what the other wants. We look forward to more conversations like this.”
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 16, 2019
Phillips wasn’t joined by any of his Democratic colleagues from Minnesota, according to a list of attendees released by ABC News. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05), for instance, called the meeting a stunt “designed to undermine Democratic leadership.”
“No thank you. Proud of my colleagues for standing strong,” she said on Twitter in response to Trump’s invitation. “We need real negotiations.”
No thank you. 😂
Proud of my colleagues for standing strong. 💪🏽 https://t.co/VR443uW52T
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) January 16, 2019
Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN-02), meanwhile, joined 30 Democratic colleagues in delivering a bill passed by the House to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) office that would reopen the government.
— Angie Craig (@RepAngieCraig) January 16, 2019
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