‘Not Much Headway’: Federal Shutdown Enters Its Third Week As Negotiations Flop

Entering into its third week, lawmakers and Trump administration officials are coming together again on Sunday to seek an agreement.

This process might sound familiar as they met together on Thursday, then Friday, then Saturday—and, now, they are coming together again on Sunday.

“Not much headway made today,” Trump wrote in a tweet on Saturday after Vice President Pence, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and others left the White House meeting with representatives of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.

“Second meeting set for tomorrow. After so many decades, must finally and permanently fix the problems on the Southern Border!” Trump added in the tweet.

President Trump is somewhat unshaken by the negotiation process and remarked that sometimes debates and discussions take time—time he is willing to spend.

As the Washington Examiner reports, Trump remarked he is prepared to stake out the shutdown for “months, or even years”:

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday that Democrats made no progress in talks with President Trump about reopening the government and that Trump is ready to keep the shutdown going for months or “even years” if he doesn’t get border wall money.

“We told the president, we needed the government open. He resisted,” Schumer told reporters at the White House after his meeting with Trump. “In fact, he said he’d keep the government closed for a very long period of time, months or even years.”


Trump confirmed at a subsequent press conference that he threatened a years-long shutdown.

“I did say that. Absolutely I said that,” Trump said in the White House Rose Garden. He added, however, that “I hope it doesn’t go on even beyond a few more days. It really could open very quickly.”

So, day-by-day and meeting-by-meeting, some progress is being made.

In the negotiation process, the Democratic lawmakers reportedly requested a detailed plan for how much money the Homeland Security Department needs and how they plan to spend it.

“A White House official said the meeting included a briefing on border security by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen,” the Associated Press reports. “Democrats sought written details from the Department of Homeland Security on their budget needs, which the White House said it would provide.”

“The administration plans to submit a formal ask of how they want to use that money later this weekend, and congressional staffers and Trump aides will meet again on Sunday, according to an administration official,” Politico added.

And, from the AP:

With talks stalled, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that House Democrats plan to start approving individual bills to reopen shuttered departments starting with Treasury to ensure Americans receive their tax refunds.

“While President Trump threatens to keep the government shut down for ‘years’, Democrats are taking immediate further action to re-open government, so that we can meet the needs of the American people, protect our borders and respect our workers,” Pelosi said.

In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” set to air Sunday, Mulvaney argued that the administration was willing to deal. He said Trump was willing to forgo a concrete wall for steel or other materials.

“If he has to give up a concrete wall, replace it with a steel fence in order to do that so that Democrats can say, ‘See? He’s not building a wall anymore,’ that should help us move in the right direction,” Mulvaney said.

The president has already suggested his definition of the wall is flexible, referring to slats and other “border things.” But Democrats have made clear they see a wall as immoral and ineffective and prefer other types of border security funded at already agreed upon levels.