'Poor me': Trump 'all alone' on Christmas Eve, waiting on the wall

With Democrats set to take control of the House on January 3, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., retiring from Congress, the shutdown provided a last gasp for the conservative majority before the new Congress.

When Congress was about to keep the government running without a fight over border wall money, Trump felt the outcry from his base and intervened.

Among the "yes" votes were Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin and Patty Murray, the top three Senate Democrats.

By digging in on his threat to shut down the government over his border wall, and by bringing troops home, Trump is sticking to his "America First" doctrine and feeding his 2020 re-election mantra of "promises made, promises kept".

One focus of discussion was the $1.6 billion in border security funding that was a part of pending Senate legislation, number two Senate Republican John Cornyn told AFP.

The US president said border security remained at the centre of discussions after he demanded $5bn (£4bn) to fund the construction of a wall along the US border with Mexico.

The shutdown began at midnight Friday after opposition Democrats resisted President Donald Trump's demand for $5bn (£4bn) for his Mexico border wall.

Most critical U.S. security functions remain operational, but 800,000 federal workers are impacted, with many furloughed just days before Christmas while others deemed essential are working unpaid.

The president canceled his Christmas vacation to his Florida resort because of the impasse with Congress.

The Senate adjourned without a deal, meaning the shutdown will continue until at least Thursday, after the Christmas holiday.

Trump, who cancelled plans to go to his Florida resort on Friday for Christmas because of the shutdown, was scheduled to discuss border security with USA homeland security officials on Monday afternoon.

Federal employees had already been granted an extra day of holiday on Christmas Eve, thanks to an executive order Trump signed last week.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly said that he is building a wall, but what has been constructed over the past couple of years is an improved version of the same border fence that has been standard for a decade.

But after Vice-President Mike Pence left Capitol Hill, after more fruitless talks, Richard Shelby of Alabama, the Republican chair of the Senate appropriations committee, said a quick end to the shutdown was "not probable".

Senator Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, blamed a "remarkable two-week temper tantrum" by the president, who he said could reopen the government if he would "abandon the wall".

Outside the White House, Washington's National Christmas Tree became a forlorn symbol of the dysfunction when the National Park Service - one of the government bodies hit by the funding shutdown - briefly turned off the lights. Progress toward funding the wall has been slow and Trump sees the final days of the GOP's complete control of Congress as his last chance to force the issue.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) recently threatened a prolonged shutdown during a speech on the Senate floor. More than 400,000 "essential" employees in those agencies will work without pay until the dispute is resolved.

Congress has always approved back pay for all federal workers after past shutdowns.

Democrats said they were open to proposals that didn't include the wall, which Schumer said was too costly and ineffective.

But while trying to pin the blame on Democrats, Mulvaney, speaking on "Fox News Sunday", acknowledged that Trump´s adamance on the wall played a role.


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