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Trump, Senate leadership to huddle on border wall funding

Trump, Senate leadership to huddle on border wall funding
© Greg Nash

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyTop GOP senator warns government funding deal unlikely this week McConnell: COVID-19 relief will be added to omnibus spending package Bipartisan, bicameral group unveils 8 billion coronavirus proposal MORE (R-Ala.) said Wednesday that he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal Top GOP senator warns government funding deal unlikely this week Criminal justice groups offer support for Durbin amid fight for Judiciary spot MORE (R-Ky.) will head to the White House this week to talk with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE about funding the government, including resolving a fight over the controversial border wall.

Shelby said that he would likely have a better idea on where government funding talks stood after Thursday's meeting, but stressed that lawmakers and the president should not force a partial shutdown of the government next month.

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“I would always tell anybody, including the president, it’s not a good idea to shut down the government, period,” Shelby said.

Congress has until Dec. 7 to fund the rest of the government after lawmakers failed to approve seven of the 12 individual funding bills before the end of the fiscal year deadline.

Border wall funding has emerged as the biggest hurdle to getting a spending deal, though Shelby acknowledged Wednesday that other sticking points remain. Democrats also want to add legislation protecting special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting MORE to the must-pass bill, though they’ve stopped short of threatening a shutdown over the issue.

The House’s Department of Homeland Security bill has $5 billion in border wall funding and the Senate has $1.6 billion. Though Democrats stress they want to secure the border, they’ve bristled at allowing a concrete structure or including more funding without an immigration deal.

Shelby added that senators and the White House need to figure out “what is doable” on wall funding by the December deadline.

“I can’t tell you,” he said, asked if $5 billion is “doable.”