The nation faces the real possibility of another government shutdown at the end of the week, after bipartisan talks aimed at averting that outcome broke down in a dispute over immigration enforcement, lawmakers and aides said Sunday.
President Donald Trump’s border wall demands, which precipitated the record-long 35-day shutdown that ended late last month, were a secondary issue in the impasse that developed over the weekend, according to officials in both parties.
Instead, after looking promising for days, the delicate negotiations collapsed over Democrats’ insistence on limiting the number of unauthorized immigrants who can be detained by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The breakdown in talks made it unlikely that lawmakers will be able to finalize an agreement on Monday, as they’d hope to do so it could pass the House and Senate before Friday night’s deadline.
“I think the talks are stalled right now,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby of Alabama, the lead Republican negotiator, said on Fox News Sunday. “I’m not confident we’re going to get there.”
The stalemate left the path forward to keeping the government open unclear.
There were some behind-the-scenes efforts to salvage the talks Sunday evening, but it was uncertain whether they would be successful.