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Trump says 'not much headway made' as US government shutdown enters third week

An impasse with lawmakers over Trump’s demand for billions of dollars to pay for a border wall has shut 25% of the government since 22 December.

trump US President Donald Trump Source: Ting Shen/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

TALKS AIMED AT ending a partial US government shutdown which entered its third week yesterday made little progress but are to continue today, President Donald Trump said.

An impasse with lawmakers over Trump’s demand for billions of dollars to pay for a wall on the border with Mexico has shut 25% of the government since 22 December.

Vice President Mike Pence yesterday met with representatives of Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Republican-controlled Senate, as well as Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, which since last Thursday is under Democratic control.

“Not much headway made today. Second meeting set for tomorrow,” Trump said on Twitter.

Under the previous Republican-controlled Congress, the Senate unanimously passed a measure to fully fund the government until 8 February, allowing more time for debate on issues including border security.

That measure was also under House consideration but Trump on 20 December reversed course and rejected it under pressure from ultra-conservative lawmakers and media personalities.

800,000 workers 

While the US military and other major agencies are still fully funded, the impasse has left 800,000 government workers from other departments furloughed or working without pay.

Those on the job and not being paid include airline security officers from the Transportation Security Administration, FBI agents, and others.

The shutdown has left the Smithsonian museums, a major tourist draw, shuttered, rubbish piling up at national parks, and workers concerned about paying their bills.

The shutdown has also been a factor in stock market volatility.

Building a wall along the 3,200km US-Mexico frontier was a central plank in the 2016 election campaign of Trump, who has sought to equate immigrants with crime, drugs and gangs.

“This is national security we’re talking about,” he said on Friday.

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