As the shutdown lurched into a third week, many Republicans watched nervously from the sidelines as hundreds of thousands of federal workers went without pay and government disruptions hit the lives of ordinary Americans, including possible cuts in food stamp programs for the poor.
Mr Trump has offered to build the barrier with steel rather than concrete, billing that as a concession to Democrats’ objections to a solid wall. They “don’t like concrete, so we’ll give them steel,” he has said.
But the Democrats have made clear they see a wall as immoral and ineffective and prefer other types of border security funded at already agreed-upon levels.
White House officials affirmed Mr Trump’s funding request in a letter to Capitol Hill after a meeting on Sunday with senior congressional aides led by Vice President Mike Pence at the White House complex yielded little progress.
The letter from Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought sought funding for a “steel barrier on the Southwest border.”
The White House said the letter, as well as details provided during the meeting, sought to answer Democrats’ questions about the funding request.
Democrats, though, said the administration still failed to provide a full budget of how it would spend the billions requested for the wall from Congress.