White House, lawmakers signal shutdown will drag on

The White House and senior lawmakers on Sunday indicated the partial government shutdown is likely to drag on into 2019, as neither side appears willing to budge over the charged issue of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral MORE’s border wall.

Incoming acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyMulvaney poised to become permanent White House chief of staff: report Pentagon sends Congress list of projects that could lose funds to Trump's emergency declaration Trump: Media 'working overtime to blame me' for New Zealand attack MORE, who has been in negotiations with Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar Why we need to build gateway now MORE (N.Y.), warned the stalemate could last until after New Year’s Day.


“I don’t think things are going to move very quickly here for the next couple days. … I think it’s very possible the shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress," Mulvaney told "Fox News Sunday.”

Schumer made clear in public comments Saturday, in addition to several times in the past week, that Democrats will not provide any money for Trump’s border wall, which he has bashed as ineffective and a waste of money.

Democratic Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenate Dem calls on Trump to apologize for attacks on McCain Sixteen years later, let's finally heed the call of the 9/11 Commission  Senate Dems introduce bill demanding report on Khashoggi killing MORE (Del.) confirmed that position on Sunday, telling CBS’s “Face the Nation” there is “no path towards [Trump] getting $5 billion in American taxpayer money to meet his campaign promise of a 'big, beautiful wall' with Mexico.”

Republicans acknowledged on Sunday morning that Schumer is unlikely to give any ground and predicted that Trump probably won’t back down either until Democrats take control of the House on Jan. 3.

The White House announced Saturday that Trump would cancel his Christmas vacation at his Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida so he can stay in Washington for the shutdown. First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump steps up attacks on McCain White House announces spring garden tour dates Trump heard sermon on calling out hate speech at St. Patrick's day church service MORE also plans to fly back to the White House so she can spend Christmas with the president.

Mulvaney was equally adamant that the president would not reopen government without movement on funding for a wall.

“The president’s not going to not accept money for a border wall,” he said.

He added that that Democrats are unlikely to cut a deal while Rep. Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiRisk-averse Republicans are failing the republic The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Dems put manufacturing sector in 2020 spotlight Trump, Saturday Night Live and why autocrats can't take a joke MORE (D-Calif.) faces a difficult election for Speaker next month.

Pelosi secured the votes to take the Speaker’s gavel in January by promising to step down after 2022, but she could risk support from the left by agreeing to money for the border wall.

Mulvaney noted that Democrats have scaled back their funding offer for border fencing from $1.6 billion to $1.3 billion and called it “a negotiation that seems like it’s going in the wrong direction.”

Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Dems petition Saudi king to release dissidents, US citizen GOP moves to rein in president's emergency powers Senate votes to confirm Neomi Rao to appeals court MORE (Ill.), the No. 2-ranking Senate Democrat, said Democrats are prepared to wait out Trump if necessary.

“It really is in the president's hands to decide,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Durbin called the standoff an attempt by Trump to ingratiate himself with the GOP’s conservative base instead of a substantive policy discussion.

“He says it's an issue of border security. I think we know better. It's an issue of his own political insecurity. When the right-wingers start screaming at him, he just backs off and dissembles in front of us,” he said.

Durbin also said there is now a "depth of dysfunction that I've never seen in Washington,” signaling that he doesn’t see a resolution anytime soon.

Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyOvernight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race MORE (R-Pa.), meanwhile, said Senate Republicans would have a limited role and that the talks would come down to Schumer.

He shared Mulvaney’s view that Schumer is being held back from signing off on increased border-fencing funding by Pelosi’s political situation.

“This ends up getting resolved in a negotiation between Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar Why we need to build gateway now MORE, who apparently is giving a great deal of weight to Nancy Pelosi's preferences, and the president. And between that group, they're going to decide how to go forward,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Toomey, however, offered the optimistic assessment “it probably gets resolved quickly.”

If there was any glimmer of hope Sunday morning, it was the possibility that two sides might agree on a border security number and just disagree on how to describe its purpose.

Mulvaney said the president could accept a compromise over a fence-like structure, such as a steel slat barrier, a design of which Trump tweeted out last week.

“Now, what one people call a wall and another person might call a fence,” he said.

Durbin said Democrats would be willing to support investing more in technology and border patrol personnel to tighten to limit the flow of drugs into the country.

He said experts agree that those investments are “needed desperately and quickly.”

“The president ought to be sitting down with us and making this border more secure by making investments. He'll have Democrats onboard,” he said.