McConnell says he will push for border wall funding

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies Senate GOP eyes 'nuclear option' for Trump nominees next week Taiwan’s President Tsai should be invited to address Congress MORE (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday that he will make an effort to get funding for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values MORE’s border wall in the lame-duck session, adding that he had already spoken to House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiElise Stefanik seeks to tackle GOP’s women ‘crisis’ ahead of 2020 Our legislators must commit to making children a priority Dreamer: Dems 'should absolutely not' take Trump's immigration deal MORE (Calif.) earlier in the day.

“We’re certainly going to try help the president achieve what he’d like to do with the wall and border security,” McConnell told reporters in the Capitol.

Republican leaders had declined to make a concerted push for border wall funding before the midterm election, fearing it could lead to a possible government shutdown that would hurt Republicans.

But now that Trump has helped McConnell expand his Senate majority by as many as four seats, the GOP leader said on Wednesday he will make a push to fund the president’s top priority, even though it will likely be met with stiff Democratic opposition.

"That obviously will have be done on some kind of bipartisan discussion,” he added.

On the subject of a bitter fight over the border wall in December, McConnell said he hoped to avoid a government shutdown, observing that he would need Democratic votes to pass any year-end spending bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security.

“Hopefully we’ll not be headed down that path,” he said

McConnell also applauded the results of the midterm election, in which Republicans knocked off at least three Democratic incumbents, Sens. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOn The Money: Shutdown Day 27 | Trump fires back at Pelosi by canceling her foreign travel | Dems blast 'petty' move | Trump also cancels delegation to Davos | House votes to disapprove of Trump lifting Russia sanction Gary Cohn criticizes the shutdown: 'Completely wrong' EPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks MORE (D-N.D.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump AG pick Barr grilled at hearing | Judge rules against census citizenship question | McConnell blocks second House bill to reopen government Ex-Sen. McCaskill joins NBC, MSNBC Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party MORE (D-Mo.), and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party Senate approves funding bill, preventing partial government shutdown MORE (D-Ind.).

“It is indeed a good morning for Senate Republicans,” he said.

He added that Republican voters were revved up by the divisive debate over Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughKamala Harris staffer mocks O'Reilly for saying Harris 'lost' his vote for president Graham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies The Memo: Concern over shutdown grows in Trump World MORE and made their displeasure known to Democratic candidates in red states.

“It was like an Adrenalin shot. We were worried about lack of intensity on our side and I think the Kavanaugh fight certainly provided that,” he said.

McConnell also said he was grateful to Trump for crisscrossing the country in the final week of the campaign to rev up conservative voters.

“He was extremely helpful to us in states where he is in excellent shape. He worked very hard and drew large crowds and I think it clearly had a positive impact on the outcome,” he said. 

McConnell declined to pass judgment on Trump’s fiery rhetoric on immigration and a caravan of migrants headed to the U.S.-Mexico border, however, arguing that dealing with them is “not a legislative issue.”

--Updated at 11:18 a.m.