Another Republican on the negotiating panel, Representative Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee, said the GOP wants as much barrier funding as possible, and he hopes that the final amount is above $2 billion. Lawmakers face a February 15 deadline when large portions of the government will shut back down absent a deal. Republicans are especially eager to avoid another shutdown after they got scalded by the last one.
"I am concerned that it may be completely broken", said Thorndike, adding "Then we can't really rely on a tradition to get the job done".
Publicly on Thursday Trump took a wait-and-see approach.
Trump, who'd previously called congressional talks a "waste of time", was non-committal. So until we see the details, we're still all just speculating. "We ask the question: Does the public have a need to know that a person seeking or holding the highest office in our country obeys the tax laws?" "Let's see what happens".
Still no wall? Pelosi insisted there are a variety of issues she'd be willing to compromise with the president on - lowering prescription drug prices, protecting people with pre-existing conditions, and rebuilding infrastructure - except the border wall.
The new openness comes after Trump delivered a well-received State of the Union speech in which he preached the value of bipartisanship.
However, the deal will probably not yield the amount of funding Trump demanded throughout the government shutdown, nor will it cover the distance on the border he presumably had in mind. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said during the 2016 race.
"In this situation, there is no appetite on either side of the aisle and I think in either chamber for another partial government shutdown", Rep.
Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has handed off the matter to his oversight subcommittee and its chairman, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), and not all Democrats have an appetite for the coming legal and political battle.
Congressional leaders in December reached a deal to keep the government open, which the Senate approved by unanimous consent.
Praying for Trump. While the rest of the nation is praying that Democrat lawmakers will come to their senses and fund a much-needed border wall to protect Americans and legal immigrants, Pelosi claims she's praying for something else: President Trump.
"Weaponizing the tax code for political purposes sets a unsafe precedent", Brady, R-Texas, told reporters on Wednesday.
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney confirmed this week, "If Congress won't participate or won't go along, we'll figure out a way to do it with executive authority".
During their meeting, lawmakers heard from Border Patrol and customs officials who sought to justify spending the $5.7 billion demanded by Trump on a border wall, Durbin said. Democrats have floated $1.3 billion or $1.6 billion in border security that specifically prohibits a wall. But key Republicans have panned that broader effort.
In effect, the core trade-off is this: Democrats are offering more money for barriers - though well short of the $5.7 billion Trump is demanding - in exchange for nudging the immigration system ever so slightly in a more humane direction, to better cope with the humanitarian needs of arriving families and by discouraging the rounding up from the interior of longtime undocumented residents.
"They are not opposed to barriers", Blunt said about Democrats.
"I think Ways and Means should focus their time making sure of how strong this economy is today, of how we can make it stronger", said McCarthy, a California Republican. While conferees want a bill drafted by Monday, she said, "We still have some work to do". Participants said the agreement would all but certainly be well below the $5.7 billion Trump has demanded to build his proposed wall, and much closer to the $1.6 billion that was in a bipartisan Senate bill past year.
Besides the dollar figure, talks were focusing on the type and location of barriers, participants said.
Among the things Democrats are battling against are higher levels of funding for detention beds to hold migrants crossing into the U.S. illegally.
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