Senior Trump administration officials and Democratic congressional staffers have failed to end a partial government shutdown, but will meet again on Sunday (US time).
President Donald Trump is demanding $US5.6 billion to build a wall along
the United States border with Mexico but Democrats in control of the
House of Representatives this week passed a bill to reopen the
government without providing additional funding for the wall.
Mr Trump says he will not sign the bill until he gets the money for the wall.
Vice President Mike Pence led the administration's team in a meeting
with Democratic negotiators on Saturday. An aide to Mr Pence said the
meeting was "productive" but that there was "no in-depth conversation
about a dollar figure".
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told CNN: "We didn't
make much progress at the meeting, which was surprising to me."
The two sides agreed to meet again on Sunday.
A Democratic aide familiar with the meeting said Democratic staffers
urged the administration to reopen the government, arguing that progress
on the contentious issue of border security would be difficult while
the government was closed.
The aide said the administration instead "doubled down on their partisan
proposal that led to the Trump shutdown in the first place".
With the two sides sticking to their positions, a quarter of the federal
government has been closed for two weeks, leaving 800,000 public
Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a senior adviser, also attended
the meeting at the White House, along with Homeland Security Secretary
Kirstjen Nielsen and Mr Mulvaney.
They were negotiating with senior staff for the top Democrats in
Congress, Representative Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer.
Ms Pelosi, the new Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives,
said this week that Mr Trump's proposed wall was "immoral" and a "waste
A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll showed that 50 percent of the public blame
Mr Trump for the shutdown and 7 percent blame Republican lawmakers,
against 32 percent who blame Democrats.
Still, Mr Trump reiterated his demand for a border wall in a series of tweets on Saturday.
"The Democrats could solve the Shutdown problem in a very short period
of time," Mr Trump said. "All they have to do is approve REAL Border
Security (including a Wall), something which everyone, other than drug
dealers, human traffickers and criminals, want very badly!"
Mr Trump threatened on Friday to take the step of using emergency powers
to build the wall without Congress' approval. Such a move would almost
certainly be met with legal challenges.
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