US President Donald Trump says he is skeptical a deal can be reached on border security before government funding expires again next month. He spoke to the Wall Street Journal as 800,000 federal employees returned to work after the longest ever closure of federal agencies, lasting 35 days. The Republican president said he doubts he would lower the sum he is prepared to accept for a US-Mexico border wall. Congress must negotiate a new bill by 15 February to avoid another shutdown. A committee of lawmakers from both parties is poised to negotiate, but Mr Trump said the chances of a political breakthrough are “less than 50-50”, the Journal reported.
Asked if he would accept less than the $5.7bn (£4.3bn) he wants to build a border barrier, he said: “I doubt it.” “I have to do it right,” he added, noting that he has not ruled out a second shutdown in as many months to accomplish his signature campaign pledge. The president also said he doubted he would grant citizenship for immigrants who entered the US as children without documentation, to strike a grand bargain with Democrats. Mr Trump bowed to mounting pressure on Friday to end the crippling shutdown of about a quarter of the US government. But while Congress quickly passed a bill to fund federal agencies, Mr Trump again came away without a dollar of taxpayers’ money for his long-promised border wall.