The partial government shutdown is poised to remain in effect at least through Thursday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) adjourned a rare Saturday session of Congress with the legislative body still deadlocked over the budget and President Trump’s demand for money for his border wall with Mexico.
“The crisis of illegal activity at our Southern Border is real and will not stop until we build a great Steel Barrier or Wall. Let work begin!” Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon, signaling his insistence on securing funding for the structure.
The White House said that Trump would remain in Washington, DC, due to the shutdown and that First Lady Melania Trump would join him from South Florida.
Other than some speeches on the floor of the Senate, lawmakers’ efforts to break the stalemate took place behind closed doors.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met with Vice President Mike Pence, to no avail.
Trump and Republican senators say the budget won’t pass unless it includes $5 billion for the border wall, a condition Democrats have rejected.
They have offered to keep funding at existing levels — $1.3 billion, for border security but no wall.
The Senate will reconvene on Thursday, McConnell said, seemingly guaranteeing that the shutdown that began at midnight Saturday would continue for nine of the government’s 15 Cabinet-level departments, along with numerous agencies.
Those include the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice.
McConnell opened Saturday’s session with a speech scolding Democrats.
“One would think that protecting the American people would be a nonpartisan issue,” he said, pointing out that Democrats, including Schumer, voted in favor of the Secure Fence Act in 2006, which authorized a physical barrier on the US-Mexico border.
Schumer went on the offensive against Trump.
“We arrived at this moment because President Trump has been on a destructive two-week temper tantrum,” said New York’s senior senator.
“President Trump, if you want to reopen the government, you must abandon this wall, plain and simple,” Schumer warned.
Trump held a White House lunch on Saturday with conservative lawmakers — and no Democrats.
A spending bill passed in the House on Thursday. It included $5.7 billion for the wall.
The legislation would need 60 votes, including from some Democrats, for the Senate to reach cloture, a procedure to end debate and enable a vote on the budget itself.
Congress had approved funding for most of the federal government in September.
With many federal offices already closed for a four-day weekend extending through Christmas Day, the partial shutdown will have few noticeable effects until Wednesday, when government employees had been slated to return to work.