Senior House and Senate leaders from both sides of the aisle expect members of a conference committee working on border security funding issues to reach an agreement soon on a funding package that will prevent another partial Federal government shutdown before funding for some agencies – including the Department of Homeland Security – runs out on Feb. 15.

But details of the negotiations remained scant today, and it’s unknown whether President Trump will agree to any compromise that the House-Senate conference committee may present.

The conference committee is trying to bridge the wide gap that forced the previous partial government shutdown – the President’s demand for $5.7 billion of border wall funding, and the refusal of House Democrats to provide any money for that purpose.

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a member of the conference committee, said today that that a deal between congressional Democrats and Republicans should be coming in the next few days.

“The president urged me to get to ‘yes.’ He would like us to conclude our bill in a positive way for the American people,” Shelby said.  The senator met with the President Trump yesterday.

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Homeland Security, said that there would likely be money for some form of border barrier in any deal that the bipartisan conference committee reaches. Appearing on Fox News’ Fox & Friends program today, the congressman didn’t get into specifics, but stated that the odds of another shutdown were “nil, or next to nil.”

“In this situation, there is no appetite on either side of the aisle and I think in either chamber for another partial government shutdown,” Fleischmann said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said during her weekly press conference yesterday that she has confidence a deal can get done.

“I have confidence in the appropriators, not because I know what they’re doing, but because I have confidence in the appropriations process, being an appropriator myself, knowing left to their own devices, as I’ve said over and over again, that the appropriators, in a bipartisan way, and a bicameral way, House and Senate, can come to a fair conclusion, which I support,” Speaker Pelosi said.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.