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Government Shutdown Likely To Continue Through Christmas

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A partial shutdown of the U.S. government is likely to continue until after Christmas, as President Donald Trump and Democratic lawmakers remain "far apart" on the issue of funding for the president's controversial border wall.

The Senate adjourned Saturday without a deal to re-open the shut down parts of the federal government and is not expected to reconvene until Thursday, December 27th.

The ongoing shutdown comes after Vice President Mike Pence met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., but a spokesman for the Democratic leader said "Unfortunately, we're still very far apart."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., noted party leaders have pushed the "pause button" on holding votes until Trump and Democrats reach an agreement.

"I am glad that productive discussions are continuing at this hour between my friend the Democratic Leader, the Democratic Leader in the House, and the White House," McConnell said in remarks on the Senate floor.

He added, "When those negotiations produce a solution that is acceptable to all of those parties, it will receive a vote here on the Senate floor."

A statement from White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump will remain in Washington, D.C. due to the shutdown and that First Lady Melania Trump will return from Florida so they can spend Christmas together.

"The crisis of illegal activity at our Southern Border is real and will not stop until we build a great Steel Barrier or Wall. Let work begin!" Trump said in a post on Twitter.

The partial shutdown of the government took effect at midnight on Friday after lawmakers failed to negotiate an agreement over funding for Trump's border wall.

The government shutdown, the third of the year, comes as Trump has demanded $5 billion for construction of the wall on the border with Mexico.

Democrats have previously expressed willingness to provide some money for border security but are staunchly opposed to the wall.

Both the House and the Senate adjourned hours ahead of the deadline to provide funding for key government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and the Interior Department.

In a sign negotiations will continue, the Senate narrowly voted to take up a continuing resolution passed by the House late Thursday.

The short-term spending bill approved by the House includes more than $5 billion for the construction of the wall, a figure that Democrats refuse to accept.

However, the vote to proceed to the legislation allows the bill to be amended if lawmakers and the White House can reach an agreement.

McConnell said voting to proceed to the legislation will "preserve maximum flexibility for productive conversations to continue between the White House and our Democratic colleagues."

"I hope Senate Democrats will work with the White House on an agreement that can pass both houses of Congress and receive the president's signature," McConnell said.

Trump acknowledged the looming shutdown in a video posted to Twitter on Friday, repeating his claim that a wall is necessary for border security.

"It's very dangerous out there. Drugs are pouring in. Human trafficking. So many different problems, including gangs like MS-13," Trump said. "We don't want them in the United States. We don't want them in our country."

"The only thing that's going to stop that is great border security. With a wall, or a slat fence, or whatever you want to call it," he added. "But we need a great barrier. And if we don't have it, it's never going to work."

Trump has sought to blame Democrats for the shutdown after previously saying he would be "proud to shut down the government for border security," an issue that helped propel him to the White House.

"The shutdown hopefully will not last long," Trump said.

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