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US lawmakers to resume border talks to avert another government shutdown

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A border fence is seen on the US-Mexico border on February 09, 2019 in Eagle Pass, Texas. (Getty Images)

Members of budget committees in the US Congress plan to meet in an attempt to reach a deal over funding border security to prevent another partial government shutdown, but an air of pessimism remains after talks broke down over the weekend.  

US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, a Democrat, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, a Republican, and two other senior lawmakers will attend the meeting, a congressional aide said Monday.

Negotiations broke down during the weekend over funding for construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border, which Republican President Donald Trump has requested as a condition for signing an appropriations bill to fund the government.

The lawmakers hope to reach an agreement on Monday to allow time for the legislation to pass the House and Senate and get signed by Trump by a Friday deadline, when funding for the Department of Homeland Security and several other federal agencies expires.

Trump agreed on January 25 to end a 35-day partial US government shutdown without getting the $5.7 billion he had demanded from Congress for a long-promised wall along the border with Mexico.

Democrats oppose a wall, calling it ineffective, expensive and immoral.

Instead, a temporary three-week spending deal was reached with congressional leaders to give lawmakers time to resolve their disagreements about how to fund a border barrier.  

The last government shutdown, which lasted from December 22 until January 25, was the longest in US history.

Trump has made toughening immigration policies a central tenet of his presidency and has vowed to build a wall along the US-Mexico border to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking.

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