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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