Donald Trump's border wall blocked by details

President Donald Trump speaks on the phone sharing updates to track Santa's movements from the North American Aerospace Defen

"We pushed the pause button until the president, from whom we will need a signature, and Senate Democrats, from whom we will need votes, reach an agreement", McConnell said.

Trump tweeted no less than 10 times on Monday to lash out at opponents of the wall project and to renew his verbal assaults on the Federal Reserve, which he blames for growing jitters over the USA economy.

Senators have approved a bipartisan deal to keep the government open into February and provide $1.3 billion for border security projects, but not the wall.

Both the House and Senate opened but there were no signs of progress in negotiations, which had only been happening at the staff level. Trump seemed set to approve but then backtracked, apparently under the influence of rightwing media furious at his abandonment of a key campaign pledge, if disregarding his repeated vows that Mexico, not the United States taxpayer, would pay for his promised wall. Wednesday is the first day the public could begin to feel the effects of a shutdown, Mulvaney said.

However, the Democrats - and some Republicans - have made clear they will not vote for Trump's cherished border wall.

He also insisted that the fault for the shutdown rests with Democrats for not accepting a recent White House proposal for border wall funding that falls far below the $5 billion price tag he originally requested.

On the domestic front, no sooner had Trump signaled he might be backing off his demand for $5 billion to build a border wall with Mexico - easing away from a partial government shutdown - than he took a U-turn after being scolded by conservative allies and pundits, who accused him of wavering on a campaign promise.

Employees at those agencies deemed essential will continue working without pay, including many Transportation Security Administration workers dealing with the influx of holiday travellers.

He also said that in the event of a shutdown, he would not go to his Mar-a-Lago resort for Christmas as has been his tradition.

The shutdown was expected to last through Thursday.

The president scheduled a border security meeting Monday afternoon at the White House with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other department officials, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

"It's Christmas Eve and President Trump is plunging the country into chaos", the leaders said.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, blamed the shutdown on a "remarkable two-week temper tantrum" by the president, who he said could reopen the government if he would "abandon the wall".

Congressional leaders have left Washington; Trump is spending Christmas at the White House.

"The president wanted the shutdown, but he seems not to know how to get himself out of it", the Democratic leaders said. It's a spectacle. And, candidly, it's juvenile. The Democrat-led Senate refused to entertain the House provisions, while the House refused to go forward without them. The Senate had already passed legislation ensuring that workers will receive back pay, and the House was likely to follow suit.

Schumer has been an outspoken critic of the border wall and says he will not change his strategy due to the recent government shutdown.

But while trying to pin the blame on Democrats, Mulvaney, speaking on "Fox News Sunday", acknowledged that Trump's insistence on the wall played a role.

On issues overseas, Trump acted against the advice of his national security advisers and issued a surprise decision to pull troops from Syria.

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