Trump to meet with key lawmakers on how to avoid shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L) and U.S. President Donald Trump arrive for the Republican Senate Policy Luncheon and walk past a Russian flag on the floor that was thrown at the U.S. Capitol October 24, 2017 in Washington, DC. 

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Trump and congressional leaders plan to meet next week to discuss how to avert a potential government shutdown at the end of the year.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters says the group will meet next week "to discuss end-of-the-year legislative issues."

Two congressional aides confirmed that Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Democrats House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would meet with Mr. Trump on Tuesday afternoon to hammer out the end-of-year agenda.

That includes figuring out how to keep the government funded, as well as other thorny issues, such as extending protections for immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

The aides spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations. The meeting was first reported by Politico.

Congress has much to accomplish when they return from the Thanksgiving holiday next week, ahead of Christmas. The Senate is expected to vote soon on its tax legislation, after the House tax bill passed with no Democratic votes and a number of Republican detractors. Mr. Trump has said he wants to sign a tax bill by Christmas. 

Speaking to troops in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving morning, Mr. Trump spoke of his vision for "big, fat, beautiful tax cuts" and a booming economy for them to come home to upon the completion of their service.

Democrats are also demanding a legislative fix to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which Mr. Trump has announced he will end. The program protects many young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as minors. 

The Senate is also counting down the days to the special election in Alabama, as Republican candidate Roy Moore faces allegations that he sexually touched underage girls when he was in his 30s. Democrat Doug Jones is running ads questioning Moore's character ahead of the Dec. 12 election. Mr. Trump stopped short of endorsing Moore before leaving for his Thanksgiving holiday at Mar-a-Lago Tuesday, saying "we don't need a liberal" in the Senate and Moore should be heard.

"He denies it, look he denies it," Mr. Trump said. "If you look at what is really going on, if you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours, he totally denies it. He says it didn't happen. And you know, you have to listen to him also."

Both chambers are also dealing with sexual harassment issues, with four women accusing Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, of touching them inappropriately, and at least three women accusing Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, of sexual harassment, some of which has been documented in court records.