Senior congressional Democrats on Tuesday rejected a Republican offer to keep the government open past Friday, leaving negotiators just three days to find an agreement.
The GOP deal would have provided $1.6 billion for border security plus another $1 billion that could be used for the purpose of securing the border, but would not be officially budgeted as border security funding.
But Democrats called the plan unworkable and declared the $1 billion to be “a slush fund” for President Trump that their caucus could not accept, a senior aide told the Washington Examiner.
Republicans balked at the slush fund characterization but provided no further details on how it would work. The impasse left the two parties with no clear path forward for meeting a Dec. 21 deadline to fund about 25 percent of the federal government. The remainder of all fiscal year 2019 funding, including money for the Defense Department, has already been signed into law.
Both parties were meeting in separate closed-door lunches shortly after noon on Tuesday to talk about next steps.
Democrats so far are holding firm in rejecting any additional border wall funding in fiscal year 2019, and they say additional border wall funding is ineffective and wrong.
Democrats said they would only approve $1.3 billion for border security, which represents the 2018 level.
Trump wants $5 billion for the wall and has told congressional negotiators he may try to use military funds to pay for the wall.