© Greg Nash
President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE on Monday met with a pair of centrist Democratic senators to discuss a path forward on immigration.
West Virginia Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinManchin fires warning shot on plan to expand Medicare Panic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda Enhanced infrastructure plan is the best way to go MORE and Alabama Sen. Doug Jones spoke with the president at the White House as the Senate was voting to approve a stopgap spending bill to end the three-day government shutdown.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the meeting but declined to provide details about the discussion.
Trump is seeking to jump-start talks on immigration, a divisive issue that helped lead to the shutdown.
Democrats in the Senate helped sink a short-term spending deal on Friday because it did not include protections for young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally, an attempt to force movement on the issue.
Manchin and Jones were two of the five Democrats who broke with their leaders last week and voted for the spending bill.
The impasse ended Monday, when Democrats and Republicans agreed on a three-week funding bill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse passes standalone bill to provide B for Israel's Iron Dome Pelosi vows to avert government shutdown McConnell calls Trump a 'fading brand' in Woodward-Costa book MORE (R-Ky.) pledged to hold an open debate on immigration legislation if a deal is not reached by the time spending lapses on Feb. 8.
It's still expected to be an uphill climb to reach a deal for young immigrants who benefit from the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which winds down March 5.
Democrats, and some Republicans, have complained Trump is an unreliable negotiating partner on the issue of immigration.
The president, perhaps emboldened by the spending victory, has signaled he may take a hard line approach in negotiations.
Trump met with several Republican senators earlier Monday to talk immigration, including Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyCongress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B Biden confronts sinking poll numbers Congress needs to push for more accountability in gymnasts' tragic sex abuse MORE (Iowa), John CornynJohn CornynSenate panel advances antitrust bill that eyes Google, Facebook Democrats up ante in risky debt ceiling fight Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan MORE (Texas), James LankfordJames Paul LankfordCOVID faith: Are your religious views 'sincerely held'? Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Afghan evacuation still frustrates GOP senators seek to block dishonorable discharges for unvaccinated troops MORE (Okla.), Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisGOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization Without major changes, more Americans could be victims of online crime How to fix the semiconductor chip shortage (it's more than manufacturing) MORE (N.C.), Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Tech groups take aim at Texas Republican lawmakers raise security, privacy concerns over Huawei cloud services Debt ceiling fight pits corporate America against Republicans MORE (Ark.) and David Perdue (Ga.)
Cotton and Perdue authored a proposal that would dramatically slash legal immigration rates. The measure is backed by the president, but Democrats have have already dismissed it as a nonstarter.
Trump said Monday he would make an immigration deal with Democrats “only if it is good for our country,” adding that his priority is “solving the problem of very unfair illegal immigration.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to say whether Trump would accept a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, which Democrats say is a must-have.
The White House has previously rejected a bipartisan immigration plan put forward by Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump pushes back on book claims, says he spent 'virtually no time' discussing election with Lee, Graham The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden meets with lawmakers amid domestic agenda panic The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - House Democrats plagued by Biden agenda troubles MORE (R-S.C.) and Dick DurbinDick DurbinSchumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Democrats surprised, caught off guard by 'framework' deal Senate panel advances antitrust bill that eyes Google, Facebook MORE (D-Ill.)