Senate in last-minute talks to find deal to avert shutdown 

Vice President Pence, incoming White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Deal on defense bill proves elusive | Hill, Holmes offer damaging testimony | Trump vows to block Navy from ousting officer from SEALs Hill, Holmes offer damaging impeachment testimony: Five takeaways Trump campaign releases 'Bull-Schiff' T-shirts MORE and White House adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump steps up GOP charm offensive as impeachment looms UN pushes back on US reversal on Israeli settlements Pompeo announces Israeli settlements do not violate international law MORE met with Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump signs short-term spending bill to avert shutdown Senators urge Trump to suspend Huawei license approvals Tensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' MORE (N.Y.) on Friday afternoon in a last-ditch effort to avoid a partial government shutdown.

Funding for 25 percent of the federal government is due to expire at the end of Friday absent a deal.

The meeting with senior administration officials and the Democratic leader is one of several negotiations taking place in the Senate on Friday as lawmakers wrangles over how to deal with a House-passed bill that keeps the government funded until Feb. 8 and also provides $5.7 billion for a border wall. 

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The negotiations later moved over to the House, with Pence, Mulvaney and Kushner huddling in Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanIs Joe Biden finished? Krystal Ball previews fifth Democratic debate Former Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled MORE’s (R-Wis.) ceremonial office with Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseTrump attacks Fox News for interviewing Swalwell How House Republicans have stayed unified on impeachment Chris Wallace: Trump testifying 'would be akin to Prince Andrew testifying about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein' MORE (R-La.), Freedom Caucus leaders Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsHouse GOP wants Senate Republicans to do more on impeachment Michelle Obama presents Lin-Manuel Miranda with National Portrait Award Sondland testimony looms over impeachment hearings this week MORE (R-N.C.) and Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanDiplomat seen rolling his eyes amid testy impeachment exchange with Jordan Live coverage: Impeachment spotlight shifts to Fiona Hill, David Holmes House GOP wants Senate Republicans to do more on impeachment MORE (R-Ohio) and Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerNorth Carolina poised to pass new congressional maps Intercollegiate athletics just got a two-minute warning North Carolina ruling could cost GOP House seats MORE (R-N.C.). 
A motion to proceed to the House bill sat stalled on the Senate floor for most of the afternoon Friday with the vote frozen 44-46 — short of the majority needed to move it. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWatergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was 'tipping point' for Trump In private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book Obama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates MORE earlier in the day warned he is ready to shut the government down over the border wall and blamed Democrats for obstruction, while reversing his comments last week that he would own such a shutdown.

“The Democrats now own the shutdown!” Trump tweeted Friday.

The president also warned on Twitter that a shutdown “will last for a very long time.”

Retiring Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Kelly, McSally virtually tied in Arizona Senate race: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R-Ariz.) and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerRNC says ex-Trump ambassador nominee's efforts 'to link future contributions to an official action' were 'inappropriate' Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R-Tenn.) are trying to negotiate a bipartisan deal with Democrats that could pass both chambers, win the president’s signature and avoid a government shutdown.

Flake and Corker were spotted chatting with Democratic centrists including Sens. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Trump wins 60 percent approval in rural areas of key states Pence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa MORE (N.D.) and Angus KingAngus KingOvernight Energy: EPA watchdog slams agency chief after deputy fails to cooperate in probe | Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act | Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows by six members Senators fear Syria damage 'irreversible' after Esper, Milley briefing MORE (I-Maine) on the Senate floor.

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Flake is pushing a deal that would reauthorize the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in exchange for border wall funding. 

Flake voted against a motion to proceed to the House-passed stopgap because Democrats have vowed to defeat it and he wants to find a resolution sooner instead of later. 

“I don’t see any reason to proceed to a bill that can’t pass,” said Flake told reporters after meeting with GOP colleagues on how to proceed. 

He said he wants to “find a bill that can pass.”

“I think one that could — if we’re going to reopen this thing to add more money for a wall or steel slats, or whatever you want to call it, then throw DACA in too,” Flake said, adding that several colleagues support his position. 

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Republicans currently control 51 seats and Democrats control 49, which means the motion could fail if another GOP senator votes "no." 

Ten senators, however, had not voted as of 4 p.m. as some of them have already left town for the Christmas break.

Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderCrunch time for Congress on surprise medical bills Overnight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul Overnight Energy: Mark Ruffalo pushes Congress on 'forever chemicals' | Lawmakers spar over actor's testimony | House Dems unveil renewable energy tax plan | Funding for conservation program passes Senate hurdle MORE (R-Tenn.), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has suggested that colleagues find a compromise based on the Homeland Security funding bill that the Senate Appropriations Committee passed in June by a margin of 26-5.

That bill would provide $1.6 billion for border fencing, which is more than the $1.3 billion that Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Deal on defense bill proves elusive | Hill, Holmes offer damaging testimony | Trump vows to block Navy from ousting officer from SEALs On The Money: Trump signs short-term spending bill to avoid shutdown | Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 | California high court strikes down law targeting Trump tax returns Wasserman Schultz makes bid for House Appropriations Committee gavel MORE (Calif.) have proposed in their latest offer to Trump. 

“All along I’ve thought, out of respect to the presidency, we ought to give him what he asked for. What he asked for is $1.6 billion in this appropriations year,” Alexander said, referring to Trump and the White House's budget request.

“The Senate voted for that and that included many Democrats. So there’s an area where the president and the Democrats have agreed. That would seem to me a pretty good place to start,” he said. 

Only Sens. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGOP senator blocks vote on House-passed Violence Against Women Act Congress feels heat to act on youth vaping GOP senator wants Violence Against Women Act passage by year end MORE (D-Calif.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinOvernight Health Care: Crunch time for Congress on surprise medical bills | CDC confirms 47 vaping-related deaths | Massachusetts passes flavored tobacco, vaping products ban Trump, senators push for drug price disclosures despite setbacks Tensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' MORE (D-Ill.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallBureau of Land Management staff face relocation or resignation as agency moves west Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog slams agency chief after deputy fails to cooperate in probe | Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act | Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows Hillicon Valley: Twitter to refuse all political ads | Trump camp blasts 'very dumb' decision | Ocasio-Cortez hails move | Zuckerberg doubles down on Facebook's ad policies | GOP senator blocks sweeping election reform bill MORE (D-N.M.) and Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzCongress should lift the ban on medical cannabis access for military veterans Booker introduces bill banning facial recognition tech in public housing Senate Democrat: Colleague was working on fantasy football trade instead of listening to Schumer MORE (D-Hawaii) voted against that bill in committee.

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenators grill safety regulator over self-driving cars Tensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' Overnight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul MORE (S.D.) 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, referring to border wall funding.