- Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney says negotiations to end the government shutdown are “back at square one.”
- Mulvaney says Democrats will not negotiate around the White House’s demand for $US5.6 billion for border security.
- The statements come a day after Saturday’s shutdown negotiations, which President Donald Trump and Mulvaney said were unproductive.
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney took to Sunday morning TV to deliver the White House’s grim message on the partial government shutdown: “We’re back at square one.”
“We’re at $US5.6 billion. And I think they’re at zero,” Mulvaney told Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press,” referencing the $US5.6 billion that the White House is demanding be added to the spending bill that currently has Congress in a deadlock and the federal government at a partial standstill.
“It’s status quo,” he continued, “it’s the same money you had from last year. The status quo is not acceptable right now and that’s all the Democrats are offering us.”
The statements come a day after Vice President Mike Pence and other top Trump administration staff met with Democratic Congressional leaders in an attempt to find a middle ground on a spending bill. Following the meeting, Pence’s office called the discussions “productive,” but Trump tweeted “Not much headway made today,” and Mulvaney told CNN “the opening line from one of the lead Democrat negotiators was that they were not there to talk about any agreement.”
Another meeting is scheduled for Sunday, but Trump himself said he didn’t expect much progress to be made.
The White House and Democratic leaders are currently locked in a battle over funding for border security. The Trump administration is demanding a $US5.6 billion allocation for its proposed “wall,” while Democrats are attempting to negotiate that number down.
On CNN’s State of the Union, Democratic Senator Doug Jones of Alabama echoed the party line, saying, “I do not believe that holding government workers and all those affected by government services hostage is the way to determine how best to secure our borders, which everyone wants.”
An estimated 800,000 Americans are currently furloughed or working without pay until the shutdown ends.
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