Negotiators aiming to reach deal on Monday night to avert shutdown

Lawmakers involved in the negotiations to prevent a second government shutdown say they are aiming to reach an agreement on Monday night. 

Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySenators have chance to double funding for women entrepreneurs—they should take it On The Money: Trump dismisses 'phony Emoluments Clause' after Doral criticism | Senate Dems signal support for domestic spending package | House panel to consider vaping tax Senate Dems signal they'll support domestic spending package MORE (D-Vt.) and Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbySenators have chance to double funding for women entrepreneurs—they should take it On The Money: Trump dismisses 'phony Emoluments Clause' after Doral criticism | Senate Dems signal support for domestic spending package | House panel to consider vaping tax Senate Dems signal they'll support domestic spending package MORE (R-Ala.), the top two members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said a core group of four lawmakers including themselves and Reps. Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyOvernight Defense: Trump weighs leaving some troops in Syria to 'secure the oil' | US has pulled 2,000 troops from Afghanistan | Pelosi leads delegation to Afghanistan, Jordan Trump officials say aid to Puerto Rico was knowingly stalled after Hurricane Maria McConnell tees up government funding votes amid stalemate MORE (D-N.Y.) and Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerOvernight Defense: Trump weighs leaving some troops in Syria to 'secure the oil' | US has pulled 2,000 troops from Afghanistan | Pelosi leads delegation to Afghanistan, Jordan Congress hunts for offramp from looming shutdown fight House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November MORE (R-Texas) would reconvene at 8 p.m. with the aim of getting a deal to break the months-long stalemate. 

"I think we both agree that we can wrap this up tonight, do it tonight, not go over until tomorrow," Leahy told reporters after a core group met for a second time on Monday night. 

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Shelby added that the group was currently talking about "serious, serious stuff" and that the goal was to wrap up talks and get an "agreement in principle" on Monday night.

“We’re talking about reaching an agreement on all of it," he said, adding that the odds have "improved but not crystalized."

Congress has until Friday to get a funding agreement to President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Support for impeachment inches up in poll Fox News's Bret Baier calls Trump's attacks on media 'a problem' MORE's desk if they are going to prevent the second partial shutdown in as many months.

In addition to funding roughly a quarter of the government, including the Department of Homeland Security, lawmakers need to resolve the fight over funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Leahy and Shelby were tightlipped about what had occurred during the closed-door negotiations that made them think a deal could be reached later Monday night.

But Shelby indicated to reporters after the initial closed-door meeting on Monday that they had "reopened negotiations" and were no longer "stalled."

The sign of progress is a dramatic U-turn from even earlier Monday when both sides were saying talks had been stalemated because of a snag related to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention beds.

Shelby said on Fox News Sunday that talks had stalemated and put the chances of getting a deal at 50-50.

Democrats have proposed a cap on the number of ICE detention beds, arguing it would force the Trump administration to focus on “serious criminals,” and that numbers were in line with those from the Obama administration.

An opening offer from Democrats late last month included funding for an average daily population of 35,520 detainees, but statutorily limited the average daily population in detention centers to 16,500 between the date of a possible deal’s enactment and the end of fiscal 2019.

But Republicans lashed out at the demand on Monday, arguing House Democrats were threatening the chances of reaching an agreement. 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Overnight Defense: Trump's Syria envoy wasn't consulted on withdrawal | McConnell offers resolution urging Trump to rethink Syria | Diplomat says Ukraine aid was tied to political investigations Partisan squabbles endanger congressional response to Trump's course on Syria MORE (R-Ky.) accused House Democrats of bending to the "radical fringe" and dropping a "poison pill" into the negotiations. 

“This is a poison pill that no administration, not this one, not the previous one, should ever accept," McConnell said from the Senate floor. "Imagine the absurdity of this: House Democrats want to set a limit on how many criminal aliens our government can detain.

— Updated at 7:14 p.m.