Trump to talk shutdown

Seeking a shutdown solution, President Donald Trump was expected to announce Saturday that in exchange for money for his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall he was open to trading protections for young people brought to America illegally as children. Democrats have previously rejected such a deal and it was not clear whether Trump's offer would make headway.

Trump planned a speech from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room at 4 p.m. ET.

His emerging proposal was confirmed by three people familiar with his thinking. They were not authorized to publicly discuss the plans before his remarks and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Vice-president Mike Pence, Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney have been working on the proposals, according to one of the people.

Trump was expected to offer support for bipartisan legislation, known as the Bridge Act, that would extend protection to some 700,000 young immigrants already in an Obama-era program shielding them from deportation, said one of the people. The president also planned to include protections for those with temporary protected status after fleeing countries affected by natural disasters or violence.

Trump, however, is known to change his mind and could decide on another course. His refusal to sign spending bills without the $5.7 billion he is demanding to start constructing the border wall prompted the shutdown.

"We need the help and the backup of a wall," the president said earlier Saturday.

Trump's overture was greeted initially with skepticism by some Democrats, who were not consulted beforehand, according to a congressional aide who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Democrats made their own move late Friday to break the impasse that has kept the government shut down for a record 29 days when they pledged to provide hundreds of millions of dollars more for border security.

It was unclear whether the developments, following days of clashes between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, represented serious steps toward resolving the partisan fight or instead were acts of political posturing.

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have gone without paychecks, with many enduring financial hardship. Many public services are unavailable to Americans during the closure.

The White House has declined to provide details about what the president would announce. Trump was not expected to declare a national emergency, which he has said was an option to circumvent Congress, according to two people familiar with the planning.

"I think it'll be an important statement," Trump told reporters Saturday before travelling to an air base in Delaware to honour four Americans killed in a suicide bomb attack in Syria this week.

Whatever the White House proposes will be the first major overture by the president since Jan. 8, when he gave an Oval Office address trying to make the public case for the border wall. Democrats have said they will not negotiate until the government reopens, raising questions about how Trump might move the ball forward.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has also previously said that funding for the wall and legal protections for those immigrants known as "Dreamers" should not be linked.

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