Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Vice President Mike Pence conveyed a meeting of White House and congressional staffers Saturday to find a way to end the impasse on federal funding over a border wall that has forced a partial government shutdown.
As the closure of 25 percent of agencies entered its 15th day, mainly staff-level officials met more than two hours in the vice president's ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Earlier, Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen conducted a briefing in the White House Situation Room.
Other White House officials in attendance included senior adviser Jared Kushner, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and legislative affairs director Shahira Knight. Also present were aides to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.; and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
Not present were President Donald Trump, who wants more than $5 billion to fund a border wall with Mexico, and Democratic congressional leaders, who don't want money for added barriers.
"V.P. Mike Pence and team just left the White House," Trump posted on Twitter on Satuday afternoon. " Briefed me on their meeting with the Schumer/Pelosi representatives. Not much headway made today. Second meeting set for tomorrow. After so many decades, must finally and permanently fix the problems on the Southern Border!"
Pence posted a photo of the session on Twitter after it ended with the following message: "Productive discussion w/ Congressional leadership staff at @WhiteHouse. @SecNielsen gave a full presentation on crisis along Southern Border. We reaffirmed @POTUS' commitment to secure the border, build the wall, keep Americans safe & reopen gov't. Discussions continue tomorrow."
Before the meeting,Trump tweeted: "I am in the White House ready to go, where are the Dems?"
"The Democrats could solve the Shutdown in a very short period of time," he wrote in another message. "All they have to do is approve REAL Border Security (including a Wall), something which everyone, other than drug dealers, human traffickers and criminals, want very badly! This would be so easy to do!"
During the shutdown about 800,000 workers are furloughed or working without pay because they are deemed essential, including in the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security. Three-quarters of the government is fully funded through September, including the military.
"I don't care that most of the workers not getting paid are Democrats, I want to stop the Shutdown as soon as we are in agreement on Strong Border Security!," the president tweeted.
After Trump met with congressional leaders at the White House on Friday, he threatened to keep the government shutdown "months or even years" if Congress does not pass funding for his border wall. He later told reported, he is considering declaring a national emergency to build the wall.
On Thursday, Democrats took control of the House and passed two spending bills aimed at ending the shutdown but not including funding for the wall.
Before the shutdown Dec. 22, the Senate unanimously approved the same funding but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., now won't bring the measures up because Trump has said he would veto them. Earlier, Trump had given support of the funding without money for the boarder but changed his mind.