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Thousands Summoned Back To Work Without Pay As Shutdown Continues

An end to the stalemate seems unreachable

The Trump administration said Tuesday that it would summon tens of thousands of federal employees back to work without pay to get the government running amid a partial shutdown well into its third week, as the White House and increasingly agitated lawmakers on Capitol Hill cast about for a way to end the stalemate.

On a day of inertia and theatrics in Washington, the partisan disconnect fueling the deadlock was on full — sometimes absurd — display. House Democrats spurned an invitation by President Donald Trump to a bipartisan lunch at the White House, drawing howls of outrage from Trump’s team, while Democrats dismissed the steak-and-potatoes meal as little more than a photo opportunity. A group of House Democratic freshmen marched across the Capitol — with reporters in tow — to publicly confront Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, with demands to end the impasse. But McConnell was not in his office, so they left a note.

In between the choreographed scenes of non-negotiation, Republicans and Democrats toiled privately to find a solution that Trump would accept. The talks were expected to continue Wednesday, after the president issued yet another invitation to a group of centrists from both parties, the Problem Solvers Caucus, who were scheduled to attend a meeting with him in the Situation Room.

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