Lawmakers seeking a deal on border security that would avert a second partial government shutdown are haggling over figures below President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE's demand for $5.7 billion in funding for a wall on the Mexican border.
Republican negotiators are pushing for $2 billion or more in funding, while Democrats say they hope the figure will not go above $1.6 billion.
Just as important are specifications for how funds can be spent, with Democrats pushing for specific restrictions on what kinds of barriers could be built and where.
“I want the highest possible number we can get, but I would hope it would be north of” $2 billion, said Rep. Chuck FleischmannCharles (Chuck) Joseph FleischmannHouse Democrats include immigration priorities as they forward DHS funding bill The Memo: Biden feels the heat from all sides on immigration Biden official defends Trump-era immigration policy MORE (R-Tenn.), a conferree on the bipartisan negotiating committee.
A bipartisan Senate bill last year included $1.6 billion in funding.
Lawmakers face a Feb. 15 deadline to reach a deal and are working through the weekend to try to get one in place by Monday, which would give the House and Senate enough time to pass a bill before funds for parts of the government would run out.
Trump has largely allowed talks to proceed unimpeded, but negotiators are concerned that he will dismiss the final result as insufficient.
At that point, they worry, he could allow the government to shut down for the second time this year, or declare a national emergency to circumvent Congress and build the wall using other funds.
Rep. Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsExecutive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump Biden does not plan to shield Trump docs in Jan. 6 probe The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble MORE (R-N.C.), who has Trump’s ear and previously encouraged him to shut down the government over the wall issue, said the current state of negotiations was discouraging.
“The details I’m hearing about are not things the president should sign,” he said.
Other subjects under discussion include funding for detention beds for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Democrats are seeking to limit the number of beds as a step toward phasing out family detentions.
The sides are also debating how much funding to provide for Puerto Rico as part of a disaster relief bill included in the measure.
The final spending number may not be as important as the details over how the funds can be spent, Meadows said.
"If the final proposal is too restrictive, I would be more inclined to encourage him to do a clean CR and do the national emergency, but again, it’s the details," Meadows said of Trump, referring to a continuing resolution that would simply extend 2018 funding levels through the end of the year.
The status of negotiations is expected to come up at Camp David Friday evening, where acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Trump holdovers are denying Social Security benefits to the hardest working Americans Mulvaney calls Trump's comments on Capitol riot 'manifestly false' MORE is convening a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including three of the conferees and several Budget Committee members.
Some Democrats worry that the White House will blow up the negotiations.
“Of course it’s a possibility,” said Rep. John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthHouse Democrats set 'goal' to vote on infrastructure, social spending package next week House panel set to take up Democrats' .5T bill this weekend The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks MORE (D-Ky.), chairman the House Budget Committee, who will attend the meeting. “In a rational world it would all be fine. In a rational world it would be easy. We’re not in a rational world.”
Democratic negotiators say they are reviewing the latest offer Republicans sent over on Thursday night, and expect to respond tonight. Though conferees have not yet scheduled another meeting for the weekend, staff negotiations are expected to continue.
Most negotiators were planning on staying local in the event of a breakthrough. Rep. Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarDingell fundraises off Greene altercation on Capitol steps Greene heckles Democrats and they fire back on Capitol steps Watch live: House Democratic leaders hold press conference MORE (D-Calif.) said he was flying home for his son’s 13th birthday party on Saturday, but would return immediately on Sunday so he could sign a deal if it is reached.
Many negotiators expressed optimism that a deal could be reached, but Rep. Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerConservative women's group endorses Sarah Huckabee Sanders for Arkansas governor Bottom line House passes sprawling spending bill ahead of fall shutdown fight MORE (R-Texas), when asked if she shared that optimism, replied, “Not so much.”
“We’ve still got some time. We’ve asked for the weekend,” she added.
-Scott Wong contributed