GOP Senate chairman on making a border security deal: 'It could happen'

GOP Senate chairman on making a border security deal: 'It could happen'
© Greg Nash

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyDemocrats open door to repealing ObamaCare tax in spending talks On The Money: Economy adds 266K jobs in strong November | Lawmakers sprint to avoid shutdown | Appropriators to hold crucial talks this weekend | Trump asks Supreme Court to halt Deutsche Bank subpoenas Appropriators face crucial weekend to reach deal MORE (R-Ala.) on Sunday said the select panel negotiating a deal to keep the government funded has "a chance" to make a deal.

"I believe that we've got a chance this week to move things. Will we? We don't know. The president could be right. We could be wasting our time. On the other hand, we could come up to a solution," he told CNN's "State of the Union."

"But as long as the Speaker and the president are way at odds, the chances of us reaching an agreement are slim," he continued.

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President Trump as recently as Friday blasted the bipartisan committee, of which Shelby is a member, as a “waste of time” and threatened to declare a national emergency in order to build a border wall, which has been the sticking point in funding negotiations.

"The president is dead set on keeping his campaign promise," Shelby said on Sunday. Trump in 2016 promised to build a wall along the southern U.S. border.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump Democrats open door to repealing ObamaCare tax in spending talks Sunday talk shows: Lawmakers gear up ahead of Monday's House Judiciary hearing MORE (D-Calif.), meanwhile, has pledged there will be zero money for a wall in the deal.

"But the president, I think, has already spoken out and said he's not talking about a concrete wall, 1500 miles and so forth. I think he's been talking about steel barriers and slats and stuff like that," Shelby added on CNN, advocating for a "comprehensive approach" to border security.

Members of the committee have suggested that a deal might refer to border security without referring to a "wall." However, Trump tweeted last Thursday that it is "political games" to call a wall something else, adding "a WALL is a WALL!"

The committee has until Feb. 15, when temporary funding runs out, in order to pass a bill with support from both parties and the president.

Shelby also said "it's up to [Trump]" when asked whether he'd support Trump declaring a national emergency, but said "what we'd like to do is do it in the appropriation process."