McConnell: Funding talks with Trump 'to continue'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: I'm going to give Biden's Supreme Court nominee 'a fair look' Progressive millionaire group backs Cisneros, McBath in first public endorsements Clyburn calls for full-court press on voting rights MORE (R-Ky.) says he will continue negotiations with President TrumpDonald TrumpMark Walker to stay in North Carolina Senate race Judge lays out schedule for Eastman to speed up records processing for Jan. 6 panel Michael Avenatti cross-examines Stormy Daniels in his own fraud trial MORE this afternoon and plans to begin Senate debate on a House-passed spending bill that includes border wall funding.

“We’re going to continue to be talking this afternoon and right now I’m going to open the Senate and begin to move forward with a process on the House-passed bill,” McConnell told reporters after returning from a meeting with Trump at the White House.

The House on Thursday passed a short-term funding bill that provides $5.7 billion to construct a border wall, but Senate Democrats say they will block it.

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McConnell attended the meeting with Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyOn The Money — No SALT, and maybe no deal Fiscal spending deadline nears while lawmakers face pressure to strike deal These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 MORE (R-Ala.) and other Senate GOP colleagues.

Incoming Senate Republican Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneMcConnell aims to sidestep GOP drama over Trump There is a bipartisan path forward on election and voter protections Juan Williams: It's Trump vs. McConnell for the GOP's future MORE (S.D.) said that if the Senate defeats the bill, GOP leaders will gather to decide next steps. 

He said Congress could vote on various levels of border security funding, such as the $1.6 billion for border fencing and $1 billion for immigration-related matters that McConnell offered to Democrats earlier in the week. 

“I suspect that if that vote doesn’t prevail — and I hopes it prevails — then I think we probably have to huddle up with the House and figure out what the next steps are,” Thune said. 

“There could be a lot of iterations of things you could do. You could collapse the amount, meet the Democrats somewhere [in the middle],” he said.

—Updated at 1:31 p.m.