Post-shutdown negotiations look brutal for Trump

Lawmakers in both parties are skeptical about President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats' CNN town halls exposed an extreme agenda Buttigieg says he doubts Sanders can win general election Post-Mueller, Trump has a good story to tell for 2020 MORE’s chances of securing funding for his wall on the Mexican border after a 35-day partial government shutdown that bruised the White House’s political standing. 

The deal reached last week gives Trump and Congress until Feb. 15 to reach a new deal to prevent another partial shutdown, and the president is demanding new legislation again that would fund his signature campaign issue. 

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Democrats seem unlikely to budget any money for a border wall, and even if they did, lawmakers say such a deal would likely require Trump to include significant immigration reforms, such as giving immigrants known as Dreamers a pathway to citizenship or permanent residency. 

That would be a tough nut to crack in only three weeks, and the concessions could also damage Trump with his base. 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTrevor Noah on lack of Pelosi nickname from Trump: 'There is a reverence for her' Trump says he would challenge impeachment in Supreme Court The Hill's Morning Report - Will Joe Biden's unifying strategy work? MORE (D-Calif.) set the tone immediately after Trump agreed to reopen the government by declaring Friday that she will not change her stance on opposing money for a border wall, which she had previously called “immoral.”  

“Have I not been clear on a wall? I’ve been very clear on the wall,” she told reporters Friday when asked whether her position had changed at all because of the decision to reopen government agencies. 

Her staunch opposition to funding the wall leaves some lawmakers wondering whether the political dynamic has changed. 

“There’s a chance we’re in the same soup in three weeks,” Sen. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerOn The Money: Cain withdraws from Fed consideration | Says he didn't want 'pay cut' | Trump sues to block subpoena for financial records | Dems plot next move in Trump tax-return battle Cain withdraws from Fed consideration Cain says he 'won't run away from criticism' in push for Fed seat MORE (R-N.D.) acknowledged moments after Trump announced he would support funding the government for three weeks to give negotiators space to reach a deal. 

Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDurbin calls Mueller report findings on Trump team 'troubling' Congress opens door to fraught immigration talks McConnell: 'Past time' for immigration-border security deal MORE (Ill.), who was named Friday to the Senate-House conference committee that will attempt to find a compromise over the next three weeks, has previously said we would only entertain supporting increased funding for border barriers if Republicans agree to a permanent solution for Dreamers facing deportation.

He rejected a proposal floated by Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamKushner saying immigration plan will be 'neutral' on legal admissions: report Africa's women can change a continent: Will Ivanka give them her full support? If you don't think illegal immigrants are voting for president, think again MORE (R-S.C.) to give Dreamers — undocumented immigrants who came to the country at a young age — only three years of protection from deportation in exchange for border wall funding. 

Centrist Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinCain says he withdrew from Fed consideration because of 'pay cut' On The Money: Cain 'very committed' to Fed bid despite opposition | Pelosi warns no US-UK trade deal if Brexit harms Irish peace | Ivanka Trump says she turned down World Bank job Cain says he won't back down, wants to be nominated to Fed MORE (D-W.Va.) on Sunday reiterated that Democrats want a path to citizenship for immigrants previously protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that Trump rescinded in 2017. 

“If the president or his hard right wing would look at that in a little bit more [of] a compassionate way, I think it would break down the problems that we have with barriers,” Manchin said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“Can’t those people deserve 10 years — it’s a long pathway — a 10-year pathway? That would really help an awful lot in moving forward,” he added, referring to a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. 

But Senate Republican Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTelehealth is calling — will Congress pick up? GOP grows tired of being blindsided by Trump Hillicon Valley: Assange faces US charges after arrest | Trump says WikiLeaks 'not my thing' | Uber officially files to go public | Bezos challenges retail rivals on wages | Kremlin tightens its control over internet MORE (S.D.) warns that trying to reach a broader immigration deal will likely take longer than the three weeks before Trump’s next deadline. 

“If you make it a bigger deal, it’s obviously going to take a lot longer to get done,” he said.  

Asked about permanent legal status for Dreamers, Thune said “that’s a longer-term conversation with regard to immigration.” 

Thune said Republicans would be more likely to agree to “a near-term solution on DACA and TPS [temporary protected status]” recipients in exchange for border wall funding. 

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDems plot aggressive post-Mueller moves, beginning with McGahn Senate Republicans tested on Trump support after Mueller Cuban negotiator says Trump's efforts to destabilize Cuba's government will fail MORE (R-Fla.), a member of the Gang of Eight that negotiated comprehensive immigration legislation in 2013, warned Sunday that the broader a new immigration proposal grows, the tougher it will be to pass. 

“The more stuff you put in the bill, the more reasons someone can find to be against it,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”  

Under the agreement reached with Trump Friday, congressional leaders will set up a special Senate-House conference committee to negotiate a deal on border security they hope would pave the way for passage of all seven appropriations bills to fund about 25 percent of government. 

Trump warned in the Rose Garden Friday that he could declare a national emergency to build the wall and bypass Congress altogether if lawmakers fail to produce a result by Feb. 15. 

But Republican lawmakers say that would likely get blocked by the courts, limiting the effectiveness of Trump’s leverage. 

“You're at the mercy of a district court somewhere and ultimately an appellate court. So it really may not even withstand if you look at some of the other rulings we've seen,” Rubio said on “Meet the Press.” 

GOP lawmakers are also concerned about setting a new precedent that weakens Congress’s power of the purse. 

Members of the new Senate-House conference committee say that Pelosi along with the other top leaders — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Will Joe Biden's unifying strategy work? Dems charge ahead on immigration Biden and Bernie set for clash MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMJ Hegar announces Texas Senate bid Hillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars Dem legal analyst says media 'overplayed' hand in Mueller coverage MORE (N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyWatchdog: Custodial staff alleged sexual harassment in lawmakers' offices John Legend, Chrissy Teigen lash out at Trump at Dem retreat Republicans call for ex-Trump lawyer Cohen to be referred to DOJ MORE (R-Calif.) — will have a big influence on the discussions. 

“Leadership always plays a role, even if you’re in a noncontroversial conference committee. I think that’s to be expected,” said Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore Capito20 Dems demand no more money for ICE agents, Trump wall We can accelerate a cure for Alzheimer's Gillibrand, Grassley reintroduce campus sexual assault bill MORE (R-W.Va.), whom McConnell appointed to the conference committee Friday. 

Capito said the point of creating a conference committee is to return to “regular order” in an attempt to take some of the political charge off the negotiations. 

The standoff between Trump and Pelosi over the border wall became so acrimonious that it appeared like a personal grudge match at times. When Pelosi tried to pressure Trump to reopen by canceling his invitation to deliver the State of the Union address, he answered by canceling military transportation for her planned congressional delegation trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan. 

Capito, the chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, negotiated a bill with Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) Tester20 Dems demand no more money for ICE agents, Trump wall Overnight Energy: Bipartisan Senate group seeks more funding for carbon capture technology | Dems want documents on Interior pick's lobbying work | Officials push to produce more electric vehicle batteries in US Bipartisan senators want 'highest possible' funding for carbon capture technology MORE (Mont.), the top Democrat on the subpanel, that allocated $1.6 billion for border fencing, an increase over what Congress appropriated for fiscal 2018. All but five Democrats on the entire Appropriations Committee voted to approve the measure in June.

In addition to Durbin and Capito, Tester and Sens. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig Shelby20 Dems demand no more money for ICE agents, Trump wall Conservatives urge Trump to stick with Moore for Fed Poll: Roy Moore leading Alabama GOP field MORE (R-Ala.), John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenOvernight Energy: Bipartisan Senate group seeks more funding for carbon capture technology | Dems want documents on Interior pick's lobbying work | Officials push to produce more electric vehicle batteries in US Officials, automakers aim to produce more electric vehicle batteries in US: report FCC claims on broadband access under scrutiny MORE (R-N.D.), Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP senator: 'No problem' with Mueller testifying The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Graham says he's 'not interested' in Mueller testifying MORE (R-Mo.) and Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) have been named as the Senate representatives to the upcoming conference negotiation. 

McConnell, who named the conferees Friday afternoon, picked four of his most pragmatic colleagues, a sign that he wants to get a deal. 

The GOP leader since November has tried to keep his fellow Republicans realistic about the chances of getting money for a border wall, warning shortly after the election that there would have to be “some kind of bipartisan discussion.”  

There have been some signs of the two parties coming closer together in the past week. 

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Wednesday said Democrats could support granting $5.7 billion for border security as long as none of it was used to build a physical wall. 

Instead, he said Democrats would prefer a “smart wall,” referring to the use of drones and other advanced technology along the border and at points of entry. 

Separately, Democrats last week offered $1.5 billion for border security measures on a bill to reopen the government. 

This has fueled some optimism that negotiators may defy the odds and reach a deal on an intractable issue that has eluded compromise during Trump’s two years in office. 

“I’m reasonably optimistic,” Blunt, a member of the conference, said on “Fox News Sunday.” 

“I think everybody’s stepped out into the new world we’re in — Republican Senate, Democratic House, new Speaker, Republican president,” he added. “The initial touching of the gloves was not producing the kind of result that we need to produce here.”

Trump, however, told The Wall Street Journal on Sunday that he is doubtful Congress can come to a deal over border wall funding, adding that another government shutdown is "certainly an option."

Updated at 7:36 a.m.