McConnell says he will push for border wall funding

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRand Paul blocking Trump counterterrorism nominee On The Money: Trump, Senate leaders to huddle on border wall funding | Fed bank regulator walks tightrope on Dodd-Frank | Koch-backed groups blast incentives for corporations after Amazon deal Congress is going to make marijuana moves MORE (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday that he will make an effort to get funding for President TrumpDonald John TrumpMeet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time Avenatti denies domestic violence allegations: 'I have never struck a woman' Trump names handbag designer as ambassador to South Africa MORE’s border wall in the lame-duck session, adding that he had already spoken to House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiPelosi and her opponents voice confidence over Speakership battle House Dems split on how to tackle climate change Overnight Energy: House Dems at odds over how to handle climate change | Trump shows support to California over wildfires | Zinke calls fires worse than Iraq war zones 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 Heitkamp2020 politics make an immigration deal unlikely in lame-duck Mellman: The triumph of partisanship GOP nerves on edge after Sinema takes lead over McSally MORE (D-N.D.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskill2020 politics make an immigration deal unlikely in lame-duck Mellman: The triumph of partisanship The Memo: Dem hopes for 2020 grow in midterms afterglow MORE (D-Mo.), and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon Donnelly2020 politics make an immigration deal unlikely in lame-duck Mellman: The triumph of partisanship The Memo: Dem hopes for 2020 grow in midterms afterglow 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 KavanaughVermont Democrats cancel events with Michael Avenatti his arrest for domestic violence Avenatti arrested over alleged domestic violence: police Washington politics may change, but Donald Trump will stay same 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.