Congressional negotiators and White House officials are discussing a one-week budget bill that would delay a partial government shutdown while Washington prepares for the state funeral of former president George H.W. Bush, according to several people briefed on the talks.
On Saturday evening, President Trump weighed in, too, saying he would probably agree to a short-term funding extension while the Bush memorials took place.
“If they come — which they have — to talk about an extension because of President Bush’s passing, I would absolutely consider it and probably give it,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One.
A final decision has not been made but could come as soon as Sunday, after White House and congressional leaders discuss specifics.
Funding for parts of the federal government is set to expire at midnight Dec. 7, but Congress is deadlocked over Trump’s demand for $5 billion in funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
White House officials started preparing for a shutdown in recent days. Numerous agencies would be impacted, including those that deal with homeland security, law enforcement, agriculture programs and foreign aid.
The funeral for Bush is expected to take place Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral.
Trump has declared Wednesday a national day of mourning. Lawmakers from both parties tend to set aside their differences during such periods, which is why they are considering a short-term spending bill that would push back any budgetary showdown.
Democrats, who have so far rejected Trump’s push for more wall funding, can block spending bills in the Senate because of the narrow 51-to-49 Republican majority. Fresh off picking up 40 House seats in the midterms, Democrats They have vowed to hold a tougher line against Trump’s immigration policies.
The president, meanwhile, has just one more month in his first term as president to work with a Congress completely controlled by Republicans. Democrats will take control of the House in early January.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, one of Trump’s most prominent promises was to build a wall along the southern border to prevent undocumented immigrants from crossing into the United States.
It was a popular idea among his supporters, and he repeatedly said Mexico would pay for the wall’s construction. Since taking office, however, Trump has shifted his position, saying the wall must be constructed using taxpayer money.
This has put some Republicans in the uncomfortable position of spending money on something few of them initially campaigned on but is now one of Trump’s core goals.
If Congress does not pass a spending bill by Dec. 7, it would lead to a partial government shutdown, which could mean thousands of federal workers might be sent home without pay.