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Congress, White House talking, but no quick end to shutdown

Congress, White House talking, but no quick end to shutdown

Funding for numerous agencies, including those that operate national parks, homeland security, law enforcement, tax collection and transportation, has expired.

The shutdown began at midnight Friday after opposition Democrats resisted President Donald Trump's demand for $5bn (£4bn) for his Mexico border wall.

Trump had reversed course on Thursday and rejected a measure that had unanimously passed the Senate and was under House consideration.

Meanwhile, from coast to coast, the first day of the shutdown played out.

We're just days away from the new Congress beginning on Capitol Hill and Nancy Pelosi plans on being in charge.

Trump earlier in the week scuttled an agreement that would have kept the government open through February 8 after coming under heavy criticism from conservative talk show hosts and some allies in the House because the measure didn't include the funding he wanted for the wall. "This is politics, not policy".

Asked whether he's willing to increase the price tag as long as the money is not spent on a wall, Durbin responded: "Absolutely".

How is the shutdown playing out? The Statue of Liberty remained open for tours, thanks to NY state, and the U.S. Postal Service, an independent agency, was still delivering mail.

Overall, more than 800,000 federal employees would see their jobs disrupted, including more than half who would be forced to continue working without pay. Another 380,000 will be "furloughed", meaning they are put on temporary leave.

Congress has always approved back pay for all federal workers after past shutdowns.

"If you want to open the government, you must abandon the wall", Schumer said on the Senate floor on Saturday. But they didn't rule out action if a deal were struck.

In fact, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney warned that the shutdown could stretch into January, when a new Congress is seated. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., signed on to a letter with other GOP senators urging Trump to reconsider.

With no compromise in sight to end the partial government shutdown, President Trump on Monday urged Democratic leaders to "make a deal" on border security - while those lawmakers countered that mixed messages from the White House are "making it impossible to know where they stand".

Democrats will take control of the House on January 3, giving them greater leverage in the shutdown talks.

Trump savored the prospect of a shutdown over the wall for months. This past week he said he would be "proud" to close down the government.

Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia - a state bordering the U.S. capital that is home to many federal workers - urged Trump in a letter Saturday to push immediate action to end the shutdown, saying it "inflicts real harm" on workers.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Following the Saturday meeting, a Schumer spokesman said, "The Vice President came in for a discussion and made an offer".

Trump canceled his holiday vacation to Florida due to the budget wrangling, and his wife Melania, who had already traveled to their Mar-a-Lago resort, was returning to Washington to spend the holidays with her husband.

Democrats have said they are open to budget proposals that do not include the wall, which they say would be costly and ineffective. The Secure Fence Act provided the George W. Bush administration with $1.4 billion for 652 miles of double-layer border fencing. "At some point, the Democrats not wanting to make a deal will cost our Country more than the Border Wall we are all talking about".

Trump has dug in on his demand for $5 billion for construction of the border wall, a signature campaign promise and part of his effort to reduce illegal immigration.


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