McConnell predicts no shutdown: Trump 'flexible' on border deal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Democrats press for action on election security Hillicon Valley: Election security looms over funding talks | Antitrust enforcers in turf war | Facebook details new oversight board | Apple fights EU tax bill MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday said the Trump administration is “extremely flexible” on striking a spending deal and predicted there would not be a partial government shutdown.

McConnell confirmed that he offered Democrats a deal to spend $1.6 billion on border fencing — the same amount approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this year — and provide another $1 billion to the administration for other immigration matters.

The GOP leader told reporters he thought it was a “reasonable” offer and a way to “thread the needle.” Asked if he was confident that a partial shutdown would be avoided when government funding expires at the end of Friday, McConnell said, “Yeah, I am.” 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-N.Y.), however, called McConnell on Tuesday to inform the GOP leader that such a proposal was unacceptable.

ADVERTISEMENT

House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Democrats will 'certainly' beat Trump in 2020 Kavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Lewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing MORE (Calif.) also told reporters before lunchtime that she would not accept the offer.

McConnell argued on Tuesday afternoon that Pelosi has “little latitude” to strike an agreement because she is facing a vote to elect her House Speaker early next month, suggesting that she is holding up a possible compromise.

The Senate GOP leader said he will continue to consult with Trump.

The White House signaled earlier Tuesday that it wants to avoid a partial government shutdown over Trump's demand for border wall funding.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during an appearance on Fox News that Trump has "other ways" to get to the $5 billion he wants for a wall.

“At the end of the day we don’t want to shut down the government, we want to shut down the border from illegal immigration,” she said.

McConnell argued that Congress should pass a minibus appropriations package of seven spending bills instead of a short-term stopgap that would simply punt the funding negotiations until early next year.