US govt shutdown to extend into next week after Senate adjourns

The nearly empty Senate adjourned after sitting for just a few minutes following a break for Christmas. (Bloomberg pic)

WASHINGTON: Negotiations between opposition Democrats and Republicans failed Thursday to end a partial US government shutdown, pushing to next week any hopes of ending the impasse over President Donald Trump’s demand for border wall funding.

After sitting for just a few minutes following a break for Christmas, the nearly empty Senate adjourned until 10am (1500 GMT) on Monday and was to continue budget deliberations only next Wednesday, which will be the 12th day of the shutdown.

Both sides have dug in, with Democrats refusing to provide funding for Trump’s border wall project and the president insisting he will not fully fund the government unless he gets the wall.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders accused Democrats of “openly choosing to keep our government closed to protect illegal immigrants rather than the American people.”

She said Trump “will not sign a proposal that does not first prioritise our county’s safety and security.”

As long as the wall debate holds up approval of a wider spending bill, about 800,000 federal employees are not getting salaries and non-essential parts of the government are unable to function.

Trump says US$5 billion (RM20 billion) is needed to extend and improve border barriers along the Mexico frontier. His opponents, including some in his Republican party, accuse the president of exaggerating the danger from illegal immigration for his own political gain.