Schumer after Trump meeting: Progress but no deal yet

Greg Nash

Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) returned to the Capitol Friday afternoon without a deal to avoid a government shutdown, saying there are still “a good number of disagreements” with President Trump on immigration and spending.

Schumer said he had “a long and detailed meeting” with Trump at the White House that covered all the “major outstanding issues,” but failed to reach an agreement.

“We made some progress but we still have a good number of disagreements. The discussion will continue,” Schumer said outside the Capitol.{mosads}

After he returned to the Capitol, Schumer huddled in his office with Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.).

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the Republican whip, said Trump told Schumer to work out his differences with GOP leadership.

“The president told him to go back and talk to [Speaker] Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and work it out,” said Cornyn, recounting a conversation he had White House chief of staff John Kelly.

The failure to reach a deal at the White House increases the likelihood of the first government shutdown since 2013.

GOP senators who gathered for a lunch meeting Friday said they would wait for the outcome of the White House talks before determining their next steps. They now must decide whether to go forward with a vote to advance a House-passed funding bill that would keep the federal government operating until Feb. 16.

Democratic leaders have said they have the votes in the Senate to block that bill, which they oppose because it does not include a deal to protect illegal immigrants who came to the country as children from deportation.

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters earlier in the day that the administration was preparing for a shutdown, which he gave a 50-50 chance of happening.

Mulvaney said the administration would try to mitigate the impact of expired federal spending by carrying forward funding and using transfer authority.

He also said the national parks, which closed during the last shutdown in 2013, will remain open.

“We’re going to manage the shutdown differently. We’re not going to weaponize it,” he said.

Earlier Friday, McConnell (R-Ky.) slammed Democrats and accused then of holding important federal priorities hostage.

“This is completely unfair and uncompassionate for my Democratic colleagues to filibuster government funding, harm our troops, and jeopardize health coverage for nine million children because extreme elements of their base want illegal immigration to crowd out every other priority,” he said.

Republicans have considered forcing a vote on the House bill to put Democratic senators up for reelection on the spot.

But Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who faces a tough reelection in state Trump won by 20 points, doubled down on his opposition to the House bill in a floor speech Friday afternoon.

He said the bill doesn’t do enough to fund community health centers or fund hospitals that participate in the 340B Drug Pricing Program.

“We’re almost four months into the” fiscal year,” he said. “Why wasn’t something done?” referring to the lack of action on his funding priorities.

“We need to do our job,” he said, arguing against funding the government with a series of stopgap measures.

Congress had a deadline to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program at the start of the current fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1.

Updated 3:32 p.m. Jordain Carney contributed.

Tags Charles Schumer Dick Durbin Donald Trump John Cornyn John Kelly Jon Tester Mick Mulvaney Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Paul Ryan
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