Trump says will accept GOP-Dem deal as Senate measures to end shutdown fail US President Donald Trump has expressed willingness to accept a “reasonable” shutdown deal between Republican and Democratic leaders as two competing bills to reopen the government fail to pass the Senate.
“If they come to a reasonable agreement, I would support it, yes,” Trump told White House reporters Thursday but kept mum on specifics.
Trump had repeatedly suggested that he would not reopen the government unless his demand for funding a wall on the US-Mexico border is met.
The failed Senate measures came as lawmakers continued to end a month-long stalemate over Democrats’ refusal to include in the 2019 budget $5.7 billion that Trump has requested to build his controversial border wall.
One of the bills, which was also backed by Trump, included the funding for the wall and the other, supported by Democrats, was aimed at reopening shuttered federal agencies without such funding. However, none of them could get the votes to advance in the 100-member chamber.
The GOP-backed measure, which also offered limited legal protections for some immigrants, failed in a 50-47 vote while the Democratic effort fell short in a 52-44 vote.
After the failed efforts, both Democratic and Republican senators called for the quick passage of a three-week, stopgap funding bill that would fund the government for three weeks.
Some Democratic lawmakers also pledged to support higher border security funding levels than what was offered in the Democrats’ failed bill. So far, Democrats have rejected to increase the current $1.6 billion border security budget, which is spent for fencing and repairs.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was quick to warn that a three-week funding bill would “only work if there is a large down payment on the wall.”
Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen said a measure to temporarily end the 34-day shutdown would be unveiled later on Thursday.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, Trump’s close ally, said he had spoken to the president about the three-week funding measure.
“All of us believe if we have three weeks with the government open that we could find a way forward to produce a bill that he would sign, that would be good for everybody in the country,” he said on the Senate floor. “To my Democratic friends, money for a barrier is required to get this deal done.”
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said she was ready to meet with Trump “any time” but made it clear that was not willing to fund his wall.
“The president just said that if they come to a reasonable agreement he would support it. I hope that doesn’t mean some big down payment for the wall,” Pelosi said.
As a result of the two sides’ refusal to reopen federal agencies, around 800,000 employees have been forced to work either unpaid or stay furloughed. They have already missed a paycheck and are likely to miss another one in the coming days.