Top GOP senator briefs Trump on border negotiations

Top GOP senator briefs Trump on border negotiations
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Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyHow the border deal came together Winners and losers in the border security deal GOP braces for Trump's emergency declaration MORE (R-Ala.) briefed President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE on the ongoing negotiations to break the stalemate on the U.S.-Mexico border wall and prevent a second shutdown.

Shelby said he had a "productive" meeting with Trump, who he said told the Senate Appropriations chairman that he wanted the conference committee to "wrap it up" and that he wanted a "legislative solution."

"This is crucial time right now, between now and Monday," Shelby said.


He didn't rule out that the group of 17 lawmakers could reach a tentative agreement before then, signaling that the conference committee has made significant progress toward a deal.

Shelby added that if negotiations remained within the "parameters" that he discussed with Trump that he believes the president will ultimately sign an agreement.

"If we can work within some of the parameters that we've talked about today … I think he would sign it. And I think he's, from my perspective, been quite reasonable," Shelby said.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Trump was noncommittal about the spending negotiations.

"Both sides are moving along. We'll see what happens. We need border security. We have to have it. It's not an option. Let's see what happens," he said at the White House.

Shelby spoke with Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph Leahy‘Contingency’ spending in 3B budget deal comes under fire How the border deal came together Winners and losers in the border security deal MORE (D-Vt.) after returning from the White House and expects to speak with Schumer. He also briefed GOP senators about his talks with Trump during a closed-door lunch.

Senators previously thought Trump would sign a continuing resolution in December only for the president to rebuff the legislation because it didn't include extra border wall money.

Shelby declined to say if Trump gave him a specific amount that he wanted to see in any agreement for physical barriers along the border. The president has previously demanded $5.7 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border wall, an amount that can't pass the House or get 60 votes in the Senate.

The "positive" talks between Shelby, Trump and Vice President Pence are the latest sign of movement in the tightly held negotiations ahead of the Feb. 15 deadline to prevent a second shutdown.

Shelby has also spoken separately with Pence this week, as well as Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDonald Trump proved himself by winning fight for border security Trump should beware the 'clawback' Congress The national emergency will haunt Republicans come election season MORE (D-Calif.). Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration MORE (D-N.Y.) met with Democratic conferees on Thursday shortly after Shelby's White House meeting.

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal Trump praises law enforcement response to shooting at Illinois business Five dead in shooting at manufacturing plant in Aurora, Illinois MORE (D-Ill.) told reporters after the meeting with Schumer that "our conversation continues."

-Updated 2:30 p.m.