The Latest: McConnell for ‘whatever works’ to avoid shutdown
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Congress, President Donald Trump and border security (all times local):
As members of Congress begin meetings aimed at striking a deal on border security, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he is for “whatever works” to avoid another government shutdown or a declaration of a national emergency by President Donald Trump.
Asked whether bipartisan talks should be focused narrowly on border security, McConnell said, “I’m for narrow. I’m for broader. I’m for whatever works to prevent a level of dysfunction we’ve seen on full display here the last month.”
McConnell said he also wants to avoid a result that leads Trump to believe he needs to declare a national emergency to allow him to begin construction on a border wall without congressional approval.
Lawmakers from both parties oppose a second shutdown, and many say an emergency declaration would be an overreach.
The top House Republican says a border security compromise that congressional bargainers hope to produce doesn’t have to include the word “wall.”
The comment by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California represents a retreat from President Donald Trump’s rhetoric during his campaign, when he made building a wall along the border with Mexico a central promise. It suggests that GOP negotiators are willing to be flexible in bipartisan talks scheduled to begin on Wednesday.
In recent weeks Trump has veered between using the terms “wall” and “barrier.” Congressional Democrats have been opposed to financing a wall but shown openness to spending money on some physical structures.
McCarthy tells reporters that to him and Trump, wall and barrier mean the same thing.