‘Not much headway’ made as shutdown talks set to continue Sunday as White House and Dems remain at loggerheads over border wall


Mario Tama/Getty Images/TNS

Volunteer Alexandra Degen cleans a restroom at Joshua Tree National Park on January 4, 2019, in Joshua Tree National Park, Calif. Volunteers with 'Friends of Joshua Tree National Park' have been cleaning bathrooms and trash at the park as the park is drastically understaffed during the partial government shutdown. Campgrounds and some roads have been closed at the park due to safety concerns.

By Denis Slattery, New York Daily News

WASHINGTON – President Trump admitted Saturday that “not much headway” was made as White House officials and congressional staffers continued negotiations over the ongoing government shutdown.

Vice President Pence, Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen again made the case for the $5.6 billion Trump has requested to fund a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border as they met with representatives for top Democrats in the veep’s ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

One Hill insider said Nielsen briefed the room on border security efforts and Dems again asked to reopen government while talks continue, which the White House rejected. The two sides plan to meet again Sunday.



“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!” Trump tweeted after being briefed on the meeting.

Offering a different perspective, Pence called the talks “productive.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced shortly after the meeting that Dems will introduce individual appropriations bills next week to reopen all government agencies, “starting with the appropriations bill that covers the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service.”

After Democrats took control of the House Thursday, they passed two spending bills aimed at ending the shutdown, now stretching into its third week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he will not take up the measures because Trump has said he would veto them.

“It’s very hard to see how progress will be made unless they open up the government,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said a day earlier.

Meanwhile, Trump spent much of Saturday tweeting and reiterating his erroneous claim that most of the 800,000 impacted workers are Democrats as he politicized a federal workforce held hostage by the impasse.

“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!” he wrote a day after saying he’d be fine with the shutdown stretching on for years. “I am in the White House ready to go, where are the Dems?”

Struggling federal workers took to Twitter as well, to share their tales of financial troubles with the hashtag #ShutdownStories.

“Thankful I have two jobs because I’m not getting paid at TSA. But I still have to show up. Which means I have to work both jobs every day, sleeping two to three hours at night, just to not even break even on bills,” Heather Manus wrote.

Transportation Security Administration worker Brian Turner pleaded for an end to the stalemate earlier with the same hashtag.

“I’ve been with the TSA for over six years now and I love my job! I’ve met wonderful people and had amazing experiences….all I ask is that I get paid for it,” he tweeted. “A new baby, a mortgage and bills all require money. Please end the shutdown!”

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