U.S. President Donald Trump (C) speaks during a press conference at the White House Rose Garden in Washington D.C., the United States, on Jan. 4, 2019. Trump said Friday that he's prepared for a partial government shutdown to last for months or years, after his meeting with Congressional leaders yielded no deal on funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. (Xinhua/Ting Shen)
Senior Trump administration officials and Democratic congressional staffers met Saturday without achieving any breakthrough in ending a partial government shutdown and breaking a deadlock over funding for a proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall.
A readout provided by the office of Vice President Mike Pence, who led the administration's team, said "the conversation was productive" and both sides agreed to meet again Sunday afternoon.
U.S. President Donald 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 strongly rejected by Democrats.
Their disagreement has led to a budget impasse and a partial government shutdown, which enters its 15th day Saturday, affecting nine cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies as well as jobs and paychecks of some 800,000 federal employees.
The Pence readout said there was "no in depth conversation about dollar figure" for funding the wall but "the priorities for security." Pence also reiterated Trump's position that "we need funding for the border wall."
Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, also attended the meeting in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building along with Trump's acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
They were negotiating with senior staff for congressional Democratic leadership.
Nielsen briefed the negotiators on the situation on the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the readout, adding that the Democratic side "requested further details in writing on the needs" of her department.
Trump dug in on his proposal again Saturday morning, tweeting that "we are working hard at the Border, but we need a WALL!"
The president said Friday after meeting with congressional Democratic leaders that he was prepared for a partial government shutdown to last for months or even years if they don't agree to provide funding for border security, including the wall.
He also signaled a possibility of using emergency powers to build the wall without congressional approval and necessary funds.
House Democrats passed a spending package earlier this week, including a stopgap bill to keep the Homeland Security Department funded at the current level until Feb. 8, and measures to fund the eight other cabinet departments affected by the shutdown through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
However, those measures are unlikely to be taken up by the Republican-held Senate or be signed by Trump as they do not provide money for Trump's border wall.