Senators optimistic about reaching funding deal

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneHillicon Valley: Trump takes flak for not joining anti-extremism pact | Phone carriers largely end sharing of location data | Huawei pushes back on ban | Florida lawmakers demand to learn counties hacked by Russians | Feds bust 0M cybercrime group Senate Commerce chair to renew push for regs on self-driving vehicles Hillicon Valley: Facebook co-founder calls for breaking up company | Facebook pushes back | Experts study 2020 candidates to offset 'deepfake' threat | FCC votes to block China Mobile | Groups, lawmakers accuse Amazon of violating children's privacy MORE (R-S.D.), the No. 2 ranking GOP, tells Hill.TV the bipartisan, bicameral conference committee on border security is “making good headway” in its efforts to strike a deal to avoid another government shutdown by February 15.

In order to make that deadline, only nine days away, Thune concedes that the 17-member conference committee is "going to have to wrap something up by the end of this week,” in order to allow both chambers time to debate and vote on a deal before funding runs out.

“They've been exchanging proposals and trading ideas back and forth and hopefully they'll get to a place where will have a consensus,” Thune said in an interview with Hill.TV Wednesday morning.

Democratic Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterGOP angst grows amid Trump trade war Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Pentagon approves transfer of .5B to border wall | Dems blast move | House Dem pushes Pelosi to sue over Trump's Yemen veto Pentagon approves transfer of .5B to Trump border wall from Afghan forces, other accounts MORE (Mont.) - one of the committee members negotiating a deal - said he’s “still optimistic - very optimistic" that the members can reach a deal before funding runs out.

“It's a matter of will and I think that there's reasonable people in that conference committee - look, it could all get upended by leadership or whatever but the bottom line is people on that conference committee are good people and I think we can come up with a deal,” Tester told Hill.TV on Wednesday shortly after leaving a closed-door meeting between Customs and Border Protection officials in the Capitol basement.

Should the conferees fail to reach a deal by the deadline, President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE may declare a national emergency on the southern border in order to build a controversial border wall.

While House and Senate Democratic and Republican conferees sound optimistic that they can reach a deal to prevent a government shutdown, but lawmakers acknowledge that Trump and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE (D-Calif.) will make the final decision.

"The question will always be what does the president think of that agreement because every bill requires a presidential signature … but also the bill has to pass the House of Representatives and the Speaker will have a lot to say about that,” Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranOn The Money: Judge upholds House subpoena for Trump financial records | Trump vows to appeal ruling by 'Obama-appointed judge' | Canada, Mexico lift retaliatory tariffs on US | IRS audit rate falls GOP senator calls for resolution of trade dispute: 'Farmers and ranchers are hurting' Frustrated GOP senators want answers from Trump on Iran MORE (R-Kan.) said.

-- Molly K. Hooper