With no deal, US government shutdown likely to drag on past Christmas

Trump put off a plan to spend Christmas at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida because of the shutdown, the White House said. First lady Melania Trump, who is already in Florida, is to return to Washington to spend Christmas with her husband.

In a call with reporters, a senior Trump administration official said the president was still pressing for $5-billion for a wall or barrier along the border with Mexico and other security enhancements.

Building a wall to keep migrants from entering the United States illegally was a central plank of Trump’s presidential campaign, but Democrats are vehemently opposed and have rejected his funding request.

Following a meeting at the White House with several Republican lawmakers, Trump again tweeted about the need for border security to ward off “the crisis of illegal activity.”

Republican Senator Richard Shelby, who attended the meeting, said it was unlikely any agreement on a stopgap funding measure was imminent.

Earlier in the week, leaders in both the Senate and House of Representatives thought they had reached a deal that Trump would sign that contained less money for border security, only to watch the president, under pressure from conservatives, re-assert his demand for $5-billion at the last minute.

The House, where Trump’s fellow Republicans currently hold a majority, passed a bill that included the $5-billion, but it ran aground in the Senate.

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