U.S. President Donald Trump’s budget director and chief of staff on Sunday said the partial U.S. government shutdown could continue to Jan. 3, when the new Congress convenes and Democrats take over the House of Representatives.
“It’s very possible this shutdown will go beyond (December) the 28th and into the new Congress,” Mick Mulvaney said on Fox News Sunday.
“I don’t think things are going to move very quickly here for the next few days” because of the Christmas holiday, added Mulvaney, who serves as director of the Office of Management and Budget and was named acting White House chief of staff 10 days ago.
Reuters reports that the U.S. Senate adjourned on Saturday, unable to break an impasse over Trump’s demand for more funds for a wall on the border with Mexico that Democrats are unwilling to accept.
Mulvaney said the White House made a “counter-offer” to Democrats on funding for border security that fell between the Democratic offer of $1.3 billion and Trump’s demand for $5 billion.
As part of those talks on Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence offered to drop the demand for $5 billion for a border wall, substituting instead $2.1 billion, ABC News reported, citing unnamed sources.
A Democratic source familiar with the negotiations said real discussions have been happening between Democratic lawmakers and Republican Senator Richard Shelby, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, who has been talking to the White House. It was unclear what Democrats had offered.
Mulvaney sought to shift blame for the partial shutdown to Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic nominee for speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, saying she might hold up negotiations to ensure she secures the position.
“I think she’s in that unfortunate position of being beholden to her left wing to where she cannot be seen as agreeing with the president on anything until after she is speaker,” Mulvaney said. “If that’s the case, again, there’s a chance we go into the next Congress.”