U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby leading budget deal push to avert government shutdown

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WASHINGTON, D.C. --  Alabama’s senior U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby is offering a hopeful view that another government shutdown will be averted by this Friday’s deadline.

Shelby, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee is leading negotiations to a final spending deal that will cover a number of government agencies.

Shelby and U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, had crafted a budget deal last December only to see it cast aside over President Trump's push for more money for a border wall.

Monday night, the two appropriations committee leaders announced they’d reached a deal, though details were still being worked out.

“We reached an agreement in principle between us, on the homeland security and the other six bills,” Shelby said. “Our staffs are going to be working feverishly to put all the particulars together, that’s all we can tell you now, we’re not getting into numbers.”

Senate Republicans expressed support for the proposal on Tuesday.

Alabama U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat, had expressed confidence in the two veteran senators back in December, arguing they should be allowed to work.

“I was optimistic that once this got into their hands, they would have a deal that we could come up with,” Jones said Tuesday, “and that could be approved by both the Senate and the House. And I think they fashioned that.”

President Trump said he’s not happy with the deal, but also indicated he didn’t expect the government to shut down. An aide said Tuesday it's "very likely" Trump will sign the related budget bills if they reach his desk. 

Still, Jones knows the border wall fight isn’t over.

“I think folks will tell you, and I just heard Senator Shelby say that this is like a down payment, this isn’t an end to the discussions on border security,” Jones said.

Shelby was asked if he thought they’d have White House support

“We think so, we hope so,” Shelby said. “We haven’t put all the particulars together yet, but we believe in our dealings with him, the latitude they’ve given us, they will support it, we certainly hope so.”

The shutdown deadline is Friday.

The last government shutdown lasted 35 days, the longest in U.S. history

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