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Short-term spending bill plan gains steam ahead of shutdown deadline

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill looking to avert a partial government shutdown starting Saturday are warming to the possibility of passing a short-term, stopgap spending measure.

“I think one’s looming on the horizon right now,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyWorking together to effectively address patient identification during COVID-19 Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight On The Money: GOP cool to White House's .6T coronavirus price tag | Company layoffs mount as pandemic heads into fall | Initial jobless claims drop to 837,000 MORE (R-Ala.), referring to a potential short-term continuing resolution that would maintain current spending levels for government agencies funded by the seven spending bills Congress has not passed.

While most initial disagreements over the seven bills have been resolved, the major exception has been President TrumpDonald John TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline MORE’s demand for $5 billion in funding for a border wall in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spending bill. Democrats have offered to pass a continuing resolution for DHS, which would renew some $1.3 billion in funds for fencing, through the end of the 2019 fiscal year, Sept. 30.

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The White House on Tuesday seemed to back down from Trump’s earlier promise that he would “proudly” shut down the government, saying the president would be able to cobble together wall funding from other parts of the government.

Democrats rejected a GOP offer to revive the Senate version of the 2019 DHS bill, which included $1.6 billion for fencing in the Rio Grande Valley, and add an additional $1 billion that Trump could use for his immigration priorities.

With those developments, many in Congress, such as Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntWorking together to effectively address patient identification during COVID-19 Trump announces intention to nominate two individuals to serve as FEC members Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid MORE (R-Mo.), say a shutdown is off the table, and that a shorter extension is likely in the absence of a comprehensive deal.

“That’s my guess,” he said.

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Trump should accept election results 'like a man' The spectre of pension failures haunts this election Microsoft: Iranian hacking group targeting attendees of major international security conferences MORE (D-Calif.), who's poised to become Speaker next month, said a short-term continuing resolution (CR) might break the logjam. Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHouse Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Graham dismisses criticism from Fox Business's Lou Dobbs Lewandowski: Trump 'wants to see every Republican reelected regardless of ... if they break with the president' MORE (D-N.Y.) agreed.

“If Leader McConnell puts a short-term CR on the table, it’s something we’d very seriously consider,” Schumer said.

Outgoing Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillBiden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big Harris walks fine line on Barrett as election nears Fox's Bongino, MSNBC's McCaskill trade blows over Trump ride: 'You epic piece of garbage' MORE (D-Mo.) said Tuesday that the prospects of a shutdown have faded significantly.

"I’m betting we’re out by Thursday,” she said.

GOP leadership would prefer to pass all seven remaining spending bills and avoid another shutdown fight next year, when Democrats will control the House.

“I think we’re kind of at an impasse, and the question is, then, is the fallback a CR?” said Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneEnsuring more Americans have access to 5G technology Pence won't preside over Barrett's final confirmation vote Gaffes put spotlight on Meadows at tough time for Trump MORE (R-S.D). “It’s a possibility. Last resort, obviously.”

With only a few days until Friday’s midnight deadline and a decreasing appetite for a shutdown, an alternative to a CR is becoming increasingly unlikely.

“Three legislative days," Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiAlaska Senate race sees cash surge in final stretch Bitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day MORE (R-Alaska) lamented, counting off the remaining weekdays on her fingers. “If these were dog years we’d have a lot of time to work this through.”