Trump confident lawmakers can reach funding deal

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE, on Thursday, expressed confidence lawmakers will reach a deal to avert a government shutdown during an Oval Office meeting with congressional leaders.

“We're all here today as a very friendly, well-unified group," Trump told reporters. "It's a well knit together group of people. And we hope that we're going to make some great progress for our country. I think that will happen and we'll appreciate it very much."

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiElection Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach GOP strategist says Trump could want border wall fight to continue to excite base McConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' Medicare for All is disastrous for American seniors and taxpayers Senate Dems race to save Menendez in deep-blue New Jersey MORE (D-N.Y.) joined their Republican counterparts at the White House, one week after they pulled out of a meeting designed to resolve the contentious year-end spending fight.


The cancellation set off a partisan tiff that complicated the spending talks. Trump last Wednesday sat between two empty chairs intended for Schumer and Pelosi and tore into the Democratic leaders during the meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Overnight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' MORE (R-Ky.) and Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanSaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP GOP group makes late play in Iowa seat once seen as lost Adelsons donated M in September to help GOP in midterms MORE (R-Wis.).

But on Thursday, the leaders were all smiles sitting on sofas in front of Trump and Vice President Pence inside the Oval Office.

“We are here in the spirit of, ‘let’s get it done,’ ” Schumer said.

Pelosi said she hoped to “make progress” on a funding deal as well as on funding to fight opioid addiction, money for veterans and a reauthorization of the expired child health insurance program.

McConnell expressed hope the leaders could “reach a bipartisan agreement to finish out the year.”

Trump has previously said a government shutdown "could happen" and indicated he would blame Democrats because of their demands on immigration.

Democratic leaders did not bring up the topic during their public remarks. 

Congress must pass a government funding bill before Friday to avoid a shutdown.

The House is set to pass a stopgap spending bill to avert a shutdown and buy more time for negotiations on a broader deal. 

Pelosi said earlier Thursday that Democrats will oppose the bill, putting the onus on GOP leaders to cobble together a majority on their own. 

A number of hot-button issues stand in the way of an agreement. Democrats are demanding a legislative fix for young immigrants who benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era initiative Trump scrapped in September.

Several key Democrats have threatened to withhold their votes from a spending bill if the language is not included. 

Lawmakers are also debating a proposal to pass a short-term spending bill while funding the Pentagon for a full year. 

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' Joint Chiefs chairman to meet with Saudi counterpart Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' despite 'Democrat' remark MORE also attended the meeting with Trump and congressional leaders. After the photo op, Trump took the group into the Situation Room of the White House to receive an update from Mattis.

This story was updated at 3:56 p.m.