White House: Trump would accept less money for border wall

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A Democratic aide granted anonymity to discuss the private talks confirmed the offer from the White House on Saturday was $2.5 billion - an initial $2.1 billion plus $400 million Democrats called a "slush fund" for the president's other immigration priorities.

TheStreet.com explains it beautifully: In the United States, a shutdown happens when the President and the national legislature, known as the Congress, "don't agree on a plan to continue funding [the government's] operations".

"The only one that doesn't want the wall are the Democrats, because they don't mind open borders".

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, accused Trump of being under the sway of conservative House Republicans and blasted the White House for saying "different things about what the president would accept or not accept". "That's a negotiation that seems like it's going in the wrong direction", said the current budget director set to become Trump's acting chief of staff next week.

Funding for about one-quarter of federal government programmes - including the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Agriculture - expired at midnight on Friday.

Pelosi and Schumer's letter made no mention of the reported offer of the White House accepting $2.5 billion in border wall funding instead of $5 billion.

Mr. Trump, speaking to reporters from the Oval Office Christmas morning, also continued to signal he's shifted his rhetoric on his demand for a border wall, though he has not changed his demand for billions of dollars to build up to 550 miles of new or renovated barriers along the U.S. -Mexico boundary.

On Sunday, a top Trump aide said the shutdown could continue to January 3, when the new Congress convenes and Democrats take control of the House.

National Park Service employees open the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse near the White House in Washington.

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A budget deal to end the partial shutdown - which forced several key USA agencies to cease operations at 12:01am (0501 GMT) on Saturday - appears a distant prospect as Congress adjourned for the weekend ahead of Christmas.

On Monday, Trump asserted Democrats "must end" the standoff while Democratic leaders in Congress blamed Trump for "plunging the country into chaos".

Trump excused federal employees from work on Monday and Christmas is a federal holiday, meaning the public could begin feeling the shutdown's effects on Wednesday. Democrats will take control of the House on Jan 3.

Almost 400,000 workers have been sent home while an additional 420,000 whose jobs were deemed essential - including Border Patrol officers and airport security workers - are remaining on the job without pay.

In response to Trump's 'I am all alone (poor me)' tweet, there has been a flurry of counter tweets and memes trolling the President as Christmas celebrations kicked off across the globe.

He also said that federal paychecks would go out as scheduled on December 28, and only a future payday, scheduled for January 11, would be affected. Legislation ensuring workers receive back pay was expected to clear Congress. Trump recently declared he'd be "proud" to shut down the government over border issues.

The president defended his plan to construct a wall along the border with Mexico that he insisted only an Olympic athlete would be able to scale.

Trump said he's heard from federal workers that he should maintain the partial shutdown until the wall funding is approved.

Most Republican lawmakers, meanwhile, have rallied around Trump's demand.

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