Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Photo: Michael Candelori/NurPhoto via Getty Images

On day 15 of the partial government shutdown, Vice President Mike Pence, White House adviser Jared Kushner and other Trump officials met with congressional leadership to negotiate funding for President Trump's border wall. The same group will meet again tomorrow.

Details: Pence made it clear that the White House will not back down from the $5.7 billion in wall funding Trump originally requested, according to a Democratic source familiar with today’s discussion. Democrats — having passed a bill in the House that would reopen eight agencies besides the Department of Homeland Security — warned that it would grow increasingly hard to begin formal negotiations if the government remained closed, the source said, but administration officials refused to budge from their position.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement: "Next week, House Democrats will begin passing individual appropriations bills to re-open all government agencies, starting with the Department of the Treasury and IRS — an action necessary to make sure working families receive their tax refunds on schedule."

Go deeper: Federal workers could be the force that ends the shutdown

Go deeper

The next cliff for the unemployed

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A program supporting Americans who are typically ineligible for unemployment benefits will expire at the end of the year, with millions still relying on it as the labor market sputters.

Why it matters: The result could be catastrophic for the economic recovery that Wall Street fears is already fragile.

The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Federal judge rules Trump administration can't end census early

Census workers outside Lincoln Center in New York. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled late Thursday that the Trump administration could not end the 2020 census a month early.

Why it matters: The decision states that an early end — on Sept. 30, instead of Oct. 31 — would likely produce inaccuracies and thus impact political representation and government funding around the country.

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