Republicans float $5B plan to fund wall for two years

Senate Republicans are proposing a compromise that would provide $5 billion for President TrumpDonald John TrumpREAD: Transcript of James Comey's interview with House Republicans Klobuchar on 2020: ‘I do think you want voices from the Midwest’ Israel boycott fight roils Democrats in year-end spending debate MORE’s southern border wall over two years.

“We’re not there yet, but it makes sense to us,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbySenate leaders eye large spending package after White House softens stance on wall The Memo: GOP frets as Trump shutdown looms Trump, Dems dig in over shutdown MORE (R-Ala.) said of the two-year approach.

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The Senate passed $1.6 billion in wall funding in its Homeland Security bill, in line with the White House’s original request. But Trump has since upped the ante to $5 billion, an amount the House included in its version of the bill.

Trump has threatened to veto any spending package that does not fund the wall to his satisfaction.

Congress faces a Dec. 7 deadline to fund the rest of the government and prevent a shutdown. It has seven spending bills to complete.

Before Thanksgiving, Trump told Shelby that the $5 billion figure was a red line for him.

“I think he would veto. He said he would veto at $1.6 [billion], so I take him at his word,” Shelby said Tuesday, adding that Congress would not override a presidential veto. 

Senate Republicans hope that spreading the $5 billion over two years would satisfy Trump, though it remains unclear if Democrats, who will take the House majority in January, would move to scrap the second year of funding once in power.

Democrats such as Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSenate votes to overturn IRS guidance limiting donor disclosure Senate confirms Trump's pick to be deputy Treasury secretary O’Rourke is fireball, but not all Dems are sold MORE (Mont.), the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Homeland Security, were noncommittal about the two-year proposal, saying he needed to examine it more closely and confer with leadership.

“I think the challenge is, can they even spend the money?” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMake Trump own the shutdown over his ill-advised border wall More than a tantrum McConnell’s marijuana conundrum: Cory Gardner MORE (D-N.Y.) later on Tuesday said Democrats don’t want to include more than $1.6 billion on border security in a year-end spending deal.

He told reporters at the Capitol that the Trump administration has yet to spend “a penny” of the $1.3 billion Congress appropriated for border security for fiscal 2018, which ended on Sept. 30.

House GOP leaders were meeting with Trump on Tuesday afternoon to discuss a strategy for funding the wall.

Congress is also looking at adding disaster aid funding to the bills in the aftermath of a destructive hurricane season and historic wildfires in California.

Updated at 3:05 p.m.