McConnell says he will push for border wall funding

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — McConnell, Kaine offer bill to raise tobacco buying age to 21 | Measles outbreak spreads to 24 states | Pro-ObamaCare group launches ad blitz to protect Dems MORE (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday that he will make an effort to get funding for President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE’s border wall in the lame-duck session, adding that he had already spoken to House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure 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: Stocks sink on Trump tariff threat | GOP caught off guard by new trade turmoil | Federal deficit grew 38 percent this fiscal year | Banks avoid taking position in Trump, Dem subpoena fight Fight over Trump's new NAFTA hits key stretch Former senators launching effort to help Dems win rural votes MORE (D-N.D.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillBig Dem names show little interest in Senate Gillibrand, Grassley reintroduce campus sexual assault bill Endorsements? Biden can't count on a flood from the Senate MORE (D-Mo.), and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyObama honors 'American statesman' Richard Lugar Former GOP senator Richard Lugar dies at 87 Ralph Reed: Biden is a 'formidable and strong candidate' 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 KavanaughSupreme Court sides with Native American hunter as Gorsuch joins liberals Clash with Trump marks latest break with GOP leaders for Justin Amash ACLU, Women's March to hold nationwide protests over abortion bans 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.