United States shutdown talks stall ahead of deadline


The deadline for an agreement on funding to keep the government open is Friday, raising the specter of a repeat of the 35-day partial shutdown that ended on January 25 - the longest in United States history. Republicans and Democrats are not communicating for now, imperiling the prospects for a deal as time runs short.

A congressional deal seemed to stall even after Mulvaney convened a bipartisan group of lawmakers at Camp David on Friday.

The sticking point is over the number and goal of immigration detention beds, an issue that would typically be regarded as a side-note to the broader talks about the amount of funding for border security.

Trump agreed on January 25 to end a 35-day partial USA government shutdown without getting the $5.7 billion he had demanded from Congress for a wall along the border with Mexico, handing a political victory to Democrats.

Without a funding deal, nine federal departments and related agencies would shut down again, just weeks after a record 35-day closing. Negotiators had hoped to unveil a deal on Monday to set up votes in the House and Senate before the shutdown deadline.

Republicans favor tough enforcement of immigration laws and have little interest in easing them if Democrats refuse to fund the Mexican border wall. "We're still participating, we're still listening, we're still talking, but we're not leading the negotiations".

And Senator Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana, said on Fox News that he was "not positive we'll get to a deal".

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In appearances on NBC's Meet the Press and Fox News Sunday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said "you absolutely cannot" eliminate the possibility of another shutdown on Friday if a deal is not reached over the wall. Trump "cannot sign everything they put in front of him, if there will be some things that simply we couldn't agree to", he said.

A committee aide said that none of Schiff's staff have come directly from the White House, but said the panel has hired people with prior experience on the National Security Council staff.

This time, Mulvaney signaled that the White House may be willing to take whatever congressional money comes - even if less than Trump's goal - and then supplement that with other government funds. "That's our attitude at this point", Mulvaney said on Fox. But negotiators on both sides told reporters late last week that they believed they were on the path to resolving the issues. Mulvaney called the level of proposed border wall funding "all over the map".

Talks between US Republicans and Democrats to reach a border security agreement and avoid another government shutdown have stalled, reports say. The remainder would be at border detention centers. The shutdown was caused by his demand for border wall money - and Democrats' refusal to provide it.

The White House and many Republicans want to push the amount that would be spent for building physical barriers to $2 billion or higher.

There are now 40,520 ICE immigration detention beds funded by Congress. Heading into the talks, the White House sought to increase the number to 52,000, while Democrats wanted a reduction to 35,520. He said the impasse was over Democrats' desire to cap the number of beds in detention facilities for people who enter the country illegally.

Mr. Mulvaney said Mr. Trump also might also search the couch cushions for federal dollars and reprogram them toward the wall.