The White House wants to avoid a partial government shutdown and will look to other ways to fund the border wall that President Trump has been saying is a requirement for keeping the government open, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.
"At the end of the day we don't want to shut down the government, we want to shut down the border," Sanders said in a Fox News interview. "We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion."
Sanders said the administration has identified "a number of different funding sources" that can be used, "that would be given through congressional appropriations that would help us get to that $5 billion that the president needs in order to protect our border."
The federal government is facing a Friday deadline to fund the government to avert a partial shutdown. The president and have they are requiring that the funding include $5 billion for his border wall.
Democrats oppose that funding, and lawmakers have not come up with a strategy to break the impasse. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters Tuesday that the Trump administration wants to create a $1 billion "slush fund" for the president to implement his immigration policies. "That won't happen," she said. "We cannot accept the offer they made."
Instead, Democrats could "possibly come together around" a continuing resolution for seven appropriations bills, she said. "Right now what they have offered, we have not accepted, and I don't know what the path out might be," she said.
But the efforts for an 11th-hour solution are at odds with the hardline approach that the president has staked out. "I am proud to shut down the government for border security," the president said last week. "I'm gonna shut it down for border security."
Still, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked Tuesday if he is confident there will not be a government shutdown over Christmas, and replied "yeah, I am." He added that the Trump administration is being "extremely flexible" on the issue, and he is expecting more details from the White House today on they way forward. "We've been done this path before, and I don't believe we'll go down it again," he said.
Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Richard Shelby said after talks with some lawmakers that "there's hope" for a solution. "The president would like for us to find some resolution that we could all live with, including him." Talks, he said, will continue through the day.
"This is a case of it doesn't get better the longer it goes," he said. "It's not going to get any better the closer we get to December 31st, because the House swings from Republican to Democrat and that strengthens the Democrats hand after the first of the year."