White House: Trump would accept less money for border wall

The Capitol building in Washington Nov. 7 2018

According to a report by Democrats on the senate appropriations committee, more than 420,000 federal employees deemed essential would continue to work without pay during a partial shutdown, including about 41,000 law enforcement and corrections officers and almost 150,000 Homeland Security employees.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney signalled that Trump is willing to accept less money than he's been demanding to build the US-Mexico border wall, but Democrats said they would still not agree to a wall.

And, as television news continued to focus on the extraordinary resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who also quit in protest of Trump's Syria pullout, Trump sought to reassert his worldview that allies are taking unfair advantage of the USA and its taxpayers.

Key parts of the federal government have been impacted by the shutdown, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the Interior Department, the State Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

A budget deal to end the shutdown - which forced several key US agencies to cease operations at 12.01 a.m. (0501 GMT) Saturday - appeared a distant prospect as Congress adjourned for the weekend ahead of Christmas.

Mulvaney appeared on "Fox News Sunday" and ABC's "This Week".

For Donald Trump, a Christmas holiday government shutdown means more time to tweet.

With Democrats set to take control of the House on January 3, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on his way out, the shutdown was providing a last gasp of the conservative majority before the new Congress. Instead, he stayed in Washington for negotiations while first lady Melania decamped to Florida.

"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 said Sunday on Twitter.

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On issues overseas, Trump acted against the advice of his national security advisers and issued a surprise decision to pull troops from Syria. I think we know better.

The US Senate will reconvene on Thursday afternoon to continue negotiating a spending bill that will satisfy Trump and Senate Democrats.

"When the right wingers start screaming at him he just backs off and dissembles in front of us".

Mulvaney, who also runs the White House budget office, said he's awaiting a response from Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY after the administration on Saturday presented Schumer with a counteroffer in the long-running dispute over funding the wall.

"Trump is plunging the country into chaos", the Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement.

Even some Republicans expressed consternation over what they dubbed an avoidable crisis.

The senator had said he would "remind" the vice-president that Democrats would not sign off on funding for a border wall.

The fund's organizer, Charlotte Clymer, acknowledged they likely won't reach their goal and said that all funds will go to an immigration nonprofit in Texas, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), which says it promotes justice by providing free and low-priced legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees.

"This is something that is unnecessary. It´s a spectacle and, candidly, it´s juvenile", said Corker, speaking in his final days before stepping down from Congress. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the retiring Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, accused the president over the weekend of manufacturing the "juvenile" showdown so he "can look like he's fighting" to please his core supporters. But after the outcry from conservatives, including talk show host Rush Limbaugh and commentator Ann Coulter, the House, at Trump's insistence, amended it a day later to include $5 billion for the wall.

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