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Trump signals no end to government shutdown: ‘You have to have a wall’

WASHINGTON (AP) — A shutdown affecting parts of the federal government appeared no closer to resolution Wednesday, with President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats locked in a hardening standoff over border wall money that threatens to carry over into January.

Trump vowed to hold the line, telling reporters as he flew to Iraq that he’ll do “whatever it takes” to get money for border security. He declined to say how much he would accept in a deal to end the shutdown, stressing the need for border security.

“You have to have a wall, you have to have protection,” he said.

The shutdown started Saturday when funding lapsed for nine Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies. Roughly 420,000 workers were deemed essential and are working unpaid, while an additional 380,000 have been furloughed.

While the White House was talking to congressional Democrats — and staff talks continued on Capitol Hill — negotiations dragged Wednesday, dimming hopes for a swift breakthrough.

With no deal at hand, members of the House were told there would be no votes on Thursday, assuring the shutdown would last yet another day. Lawmakers are away from Washington for the holidays and have been told they will have 24 hours’ notice before having to return. The Senate is slated to come into session Thursday afternoon.

Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, a Trump ally who has been involved in the talks, said the president “is very firm in his resolve that we need to secure our border.” He told CNN, “I don’t know that there’s a lot of progress that has been made today.”