White House Budget Chief Says Shutdown May Extend Into January

Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, said on Sunday that it was “very possible” that the impasse over funding that has shuttered large parts of the federal government would continue into January, when the new Congress is seated.

The government partially shut down Saturday morning, and hours later the lawmakers still in Washington returned home for the Christmas holiday, as President Trump and Democrats remained at loggerheads over Mr. Trump’s demand for a $5 billion down payment for a wall along the southern border.

Mr. Mulvaney, who is also the incoming White House chief of staff, said that Mr. Trump’s aides had made Democrats an offer on Saturday between the $5 billion figure and the $1.6 billion previously offered by Democratic leaders.

But there was not yet a solution. “We gave them an offer late yesterday afternoon, and we’re waiting to hear back from them right now,” Mr. Mulvaney said on ABC’s “This Week.”

The remarks, after days of on-and-off negotiations, suggested that Mr. Trump remained unwilling to reopen the government without a significant concession by Democrats.

On Twitter, Mr. Trump continued to hammer home his case, writing that “the only way to stop drugs, gangs, human trafficking, criminal elements and much else from coming into our Country is with a Wall or Barrier.” He appeared to directly reject Democrats’ offer to fund additional border security measures as long as they were not a physical barrier.

Democrats, it seemed, remained just as dug in. They have little incentive to meet Mr. Trump’s demands before Jan. 3, when they will assume control of the House, giving them additional negotiating leverage to oppose a border wall that Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, called “medieval” on Sunday.

Mr. Durbin said Democrats were open to negotiating over additional funds for border security, if Mr. Trump would drop his demand for the wall itself.

“I can tell you that I think there is an appetite among Democrats to do something sensible at the border,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“It really is in the presidents’s hands to decide,” Mr. Durbin added. “He says it is an issue of border security. I think we know better it’s an issue of his own political insecurity. When the right-wingers start screaming at him, he just backs off and dissembles in front of us.”

Mr. Mulvaney outright rejected Mr. Durbin’s offer. “The president is not going to not accept money for a border wall,” he said.

The lack of progress between the two sides only deepened the likelihood of a prolonged shutdown that would present Democrats in the House with an unwelcome crisis on Day 1 of their leadership early next month.

The partial government shutdown began at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday and affects about a quarter of the federal government — nine of the 15 cabinet-level departments. All told, some 800,000 federal employees will be deprived pay, either working without it or sidelined from work. Federal services, including those at national parks, have already been affected.

It had been clear on Saturday that a solution was not likely to be immediately in reach. Even as negotiations continued, the Senate adjourned until Thursday.

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