McConnell: Funding talks with Trump 'to continue'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFor city parks: Pass the Great American Outdoors Act now US ill-prepared for coronavirus-fueled mental health crisis Schumer to GOP: Cancel 'conspiracy hearings' on origins of Russia probe MORE (R-Ky.) says he will continue negotiations with President TrumpDonald John TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points 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 ShelbyHouse pushes back schedule to pass spending bills Top Republican says Trump greenlit budget fix for VA health care GOP senators not tested for coronavirus before lunch with Trump MORE (R-Ala.) and other Senate GOP colleagues.

Incoming Senate Republican Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneFrustration builds in key committee ahead of Graham subpoena vote  The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US death toll nears 100,000 as country grapples with reopening GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill 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.