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Senate Republicans drafting short-term deal to prevent government shutdown

Posted at 8:19 AM, Dec 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-19 08:19:10-05

Senate Republicans are drafting a stopgap spending bill to extend the funding deadline for approximately 25% of the federal government until February 8, according to three sources.

The decision to move forward on the short-term plan hasn't been finalized, the sources said. There are still senators who are urging GOP leaders to negotiate for a broader deal.

A final decision likely won't be made until at least Wednesday, the sources said, and President Donald Trump still needs to sign off on any path forward.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York told reporters earlier Tuesday that Democrats would "seriously consider" supporting a short-term spending measure.

The proposal comes following a stark shift in the White House's stance going into negotiations. Trump initially refused to budge from his demand for $5 billion in border wall funding, a nonstarter for Democrats that prompted the possibility of a partial government shutdown.

A compromise seemed unlikely after a televised meeting in the Oval Office last week, when Trump clashed with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, and Senate Minority Leader Schumer on the need for wall funding. The President ultimately took ownership of a possible shutdown.

"I'll tell you what, I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck," Trump told the top Senate Democrat. "So I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I'm not going to blame you for it."

But White House press secretary Sarah Sanders suggested Tuesday that the White House could agree to a compromise bill to keep the government open, because "we have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion."

"We will work with Congress if they will make sure we get a bill passed that provides not just the funding for the wall, but there's a piece of legislation that's been pushed around that Democrats actually voted 26-5 out of committee that provides roughly $26 billion for border security including $1.6 billion for the wall," she told Fox News. "That's something that we would be able to support as long as we can couple that with other funding resources."

Schumer had previously proposed such a bill to avert a shutdown, but retracted it last week because it would not have passed the House, partially due to House Democrats' opposition to $1.6 billion in border security.