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Trump, Pence at separate border security, shutdown meetings

White House and congressional staffers were scheduled to meet again Sunday to find a way to end the impasse on federal funding over a border wall that has forced a partial government shutdown for 16 days.

Vice President Mike Pence will lead the delegation again as President Donald Trump heads to Camp David "for meetings on Border Security and many other topics with @WhiteHouse senior staff," according to post Saturday night on Twitter.

Before departing for Camp David from the White House on Sunday morning, Trump said "this shutdown could end tomorrow or it also could go on for a long time."

The president said steel instead of concrete is fine. "We have to build the wall or we have to build a barrier," he said.

Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who attended Saturday's session, told NBC News on Saturday that Trump is willing to "take a concrete wall off the table" in negotiations with Democrats over the shutdown.

"If he has to give up a concrete wall, replace it with a steel fence in order to do that so that Democrats can say, 'See? He's not building a wall anymore,' that should help us move in the right direction," Mulvaney said in an interview to run on Sunday's Meet the Press.

On Saturday, Mulaney was among the mainly staff-level officials who met more than two hours in the vice president's ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Earlier, Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen conducted a briefing in the White House Situation Room.

Other White House officials in attendance included senior adviser Jared Kushner and legislative affairs director Shahira Knight. Also present were aides to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.; and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Not present were Trump, who wants more than $5 billion to fund a border wall with Mexico, and Democratic congressional leaders, who don't want money for added barriers.

"V.P. Mike Pence and team just left the White House," Trump posted on Twitter on Satuday afternoon." Briefed me on their meeting with the Schumer/Pelosi representatives. Not much headway made today. Second meeting set for tomorrow. After so many decades, must finally and permanently fix the problems on the Southern Border!"

Pence posted a photo of the session on Twitter after it ended with the following message: "Productive discussion w/ Congressional leadership staff at @WhiteHouse. @SecNielsen gave a full presentation on crisis along Southern Border. We reaffirmed @POTUS' commitment to secure the border, build the wall, keep Americans safe & reopen gov't. Discussions continue tomorrow."

During the shutdown about 800,000 workers are furloughed or working without pay because they are deemed essential, including in the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security. Three-quarters of the government is fully funded through September, including the military.

"I don't care that most of the workers not getting paid are Democrats, I want to stop the Shutdown as soon as we are in agreement on Strong Border Security!," the president tweeted.

On Sunday, Trump told reporters "many of those people that won't be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I'm doing."

After Trump met with congressional leaders at the White House on Friday, he threatened to keep the government shutdown "months or even years" if Congress does not pass funding for his border wall. He later told reporters, he is considering declaring a national emergency to secure funding to build the wall.

He repeated that position on fundng Sunday, saying: "I may declare a national emergency dependent on what's going to happy over the next few years."

On Thursday, Democrats took control of the House and passed two spending bills aimed at ending the shutdown but not including funding for the wall.

Before the shutdown Dec. 22, the Senate unanimously approved the same funding but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., now won't bring the measures up because Trump has said he would veto them. Earlier, Trump had given support of the funding without money for the boarder but changed his mind.'

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