U.S. President Donald Trump said Saturday that "not much headway" has been made in border wall funding and the ongoing partial government shutdown in an earlier meeting between senior White House officials and Democratic congressional staffers.
(File photo: VCG)
"Second meeting set for tomorrow," Trump tweeted. "After so many decades, must finally and permanently fix the problems on the Southern Border!"
A Trump administration team led by Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday met with staffers for top Congressional Democrats without achieving any breakthrough in breaking a deadlock over funding for Trump's proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall or ending the prolonged government shutdown.
A readout provided by Pence's office said "the conversation was productive" and both sides agreed to meet again on Sunday afternoon, adding that there was "no in-depth conversation about a dollar figure" for the wall money.
In a tweet Saturday night, Trump said that on Sunday morning, he will go to Camp David, a presidential retreat in the state of Maryland, for meetings on "border security and many other topics" with senior White House staff.
Trump is demanding over 5 billion U.S. dollars in border security to deliver his signature campaign promise to build a wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico, which has been strongly rejected by Democrats.
Their disagreement has led to a budget impasse and the partial government shutdown, which enters its 15th day Saturday, affecting nine cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies as well as the jobs and paychecks of some 800,000 federal employees.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Saturday that Democrats in the House, who now hold a majority, will take action next week to reopen the government by approving individual funding bills for agencies affected by the shutdown.
The fate of those Democratic bills is unclear. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Republican-controlled upper chamber won't consider any bills without the president's support.
Trump dug in on his proposal again Saturday, tweeting in the morning that "we are working hard at the Border, but we need a WALL!"
The president and his conservative allies have insisted that the wall is essential to addressing illegal immigration and drug trafficking, while Democrats have slapped the proposal as an "inefficient, unnecessary and costly" solution to strengthening border security.