"V.P. Mike Pence and group had a productive meeting with the Schumer/Pelosi representatives today. Many details of Border Security were discussed. We are now planning a Steel Barrier rather than concrete. It is both stronger & less obtrusive", Trump said on Twitter.
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Friday that the meeting over the weekend would be an attempt for Trump's top people to come up with an agreement to recommend to congressional leaders to end the government shutdown.
The US government shut down on 22 December after Democrats refused to provide $5.6 billion in next year’s budget to build a wall on the southern border as Trump has demanded.
Lawmakers in the US House, which now has a Democratic majority, passed two resolutions – H.R. 21 and 1 — to reopen the federal government despite the fact that the White House Budget Office on Thursday said the Trump administration would veto the spending bills because they lacked border security funding. In addition, leaders of the Republican-controlled Senate vowed to reject the resolution for the very same reason.
H.R. 21 would fund the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Justice, Interior, State, Transportation, and the Treasury through 30 September, while H.R. 1 would fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through 8 February.
Donald Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall on the US southern border without congressional approval after failing to reach a deal with lawmakers to reopen the federal government which has been partially shut down for two weeks.
A go-fund-me campaign reported earlier this week that nearly $20 million has been collected from private donors for a wall, far short of the $5.6 billion demanded by the president.
Currently there is nearly 600 miles worth of barrier, primarily consisting of 16-foot high fencing, along the 1,900-mile US-Mexico border. Trump wants to erect steel and/or concrete walls over 30 feet tall on more than 200 miles of the border that would include new and replacement barriers.
The Trump administration responded by deploying active duty military personnel to the border to assist US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The Defense Department provided support such as reinforcing priority ports of entry in the border states of Texas, Arizona and California. The Defense Department also deployed engineers and military police units, as well as troops who specialize in aviation, medical treatment and logistic.