Trump Is Willing to Rule Out Concrete for Border Wall, Mulvaney Says

Members of Congress arrive before the start of the 116th Congress and swearing-in ceremony on the floor of the US House of Representatives at the US Capitol

AFP 2018 Brendan SMIALOWSKI New US Congress Convenes With Democratic Majority in House Amid Shutdown

US President Donald Trump stood firm on Sunday on his demand for billions of dollars to fund a border wall with Mexico, claiming "tremendous" support inside his camp on the contentious issue which has forced a government shutdown now entering its third week.

A Democratic congresswoman kicked off her term with an expletive-laced vow to impeach President Donald Trump, triggering Republican outrage and testing party discipline barely a day after Democrats regained the House.

Sanders said the White House has been looking at "every option available" to get the needed money for his wall, adding Trump will do "whatever it takes to protect our borders".

For some federal workers, such as a TSA employee who asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing his job, coming to work may be increasingly hard as the shutdown continues.

In the meantime, Trump is engaged in a dispute with opposition Democratic lawmakers over his demand for more than $5 billion in funding for the barrier, a stalemate that has shut down about a quarter of USA government operations for 16 days, already one of the longest government closures in US history.

Those on the job and not being paid include airline security officers from the Transportation Security Administration, FBI agents, and others.

"We have to build the wall", he said.

Mulvaney, in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press", said Trump was considering accepting funding to build a steel fence, despite his campaign promise that the wall be built of concrete.

He had earlier met with Ms Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.

Further, Trump sounded a warning yesterday that he could declare a national emergency in order to bypass Congress and build his long-proposed wall along the US-Mexico border.

"This shutdown could end tomorrow and it could also go on for a long time", Mr Trump said.

Both Democrats and Republicans have attempted to pin the blame for the shutdown on the other side.

Pelosi said: "This action is necessary so that the American people can receive their tax refunds on schedule". "We're going to support national emergency".

Trump has already suggested his definition of the wall is flexible. Trump told reporters on Saturday that he wants to reopen government but is prepared to maintain the shutdown for weeks or even years.

Democrats, who now hold the majority in the House, passed spending bills on Thursday to reopen the government, including $1.3bn (£1bn) of border security funds until 8 February. "And Senate Republicans are just the right ones to intervene".

The White House painted that offer, which Trump floated previously, as an olive branch.

The morning of her entry into Congress, Tlaib labelled Trump "a direct and serious threat to our country", in a co-authored op-ed published in the Detroit Free Press newspaper.

Some GOP senators up for re-election in 2020, including Cory Gardner of Colorado and Susan Collins of ME, have voiced discomfort with the shutdown in recent days.

The White House is again floating the idea of a deal for "Dreamers" - immigrants who illegally entered the U.S. as children.

A spokesman said in a statement that Tlaib was elected to shake up Washington and "absolutely" believes Trump should be impeached.

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