The partial government shutdown entered its 12th day Wednesday, as bipartisan congressional leaders headed to the White House for a briefing on President Donald Trump's proposed border wall.
Nine federal departments remain unfunded and hundreds of thousands of federal workers face missing paychecks amid an impasse over funding for the barrier. Democrats have pledged to pass spending legislation without wall money when they take control of the House on Thursday. But Trump has already promised to oppose the measure, leaving Congress and the White House still far from a solution.
Eight lawmakers attended the White House briefing on border security at 3 p.m. Wednesday. The group includes House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who will likely become speaker Thursday, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. In the lead-up to the shutdown last month, the Democratic leaders got into a televised Oval Office spat with the president over the wall.
The briefing comes as neither side has shown willingness to cave on the president's demand for $5 billion in taxpayer money for the project. Trump has insisted on funding for the barrier, a core campaign promise that excited supporters at political rallies when he promised Mexico would pay for it. Democrats have flatly opposed the funding, calling a wall both inhumane and ineffective.
Trump's own messaging muddied his push for a wall as talks stalled over the holidays. The president has not made it clear what exactly he wants — calling at various times for a concrete barrier, fencing or a structure made of steel slats.