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Republican border negotiator says 'next to nil' chance of another shutdown


Current government funding runs out on Feb. 15

Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

A member of the bipartisan committee tasked with reaching a border security deal said that the chances of another government shutdown in February are "nil, or next to nil."

What's the story?

After the government had been shut down for 35 days, President Donald Trump announced a plan on Jan. 25 to fund the government for three weeks while a more permanent spending bill was being created. This plan passed both houses of Congress and was signed by Trump the same day.

On Feb. 15, those three weeks run out, and so far Congress has not put forward a bill to fund the government that both parties can agree to. Trump has said that he won't sign a bill that doesn't include $5.7 billion for a barrier along the southern border. Democrats have indicated that they won't vote for any bill that includes this provision.

What did the committee member say?

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) sits on the bipartisan conference committee that's working on solving this border security impasse. In two separate interviews on Friday morning, he seemed optimistic that an acceptable compromise could be reached by the Feb. 15 deadline.

"In this situation there is no appetite on either side of the aisle and I think in either chamber for another partial government shutdown," Fleischman said during an interview on Fox and Friends. He said that the chances of another shutdown happening when the current short-term funding bill ran out were "nil, or next to nil."

Fleischman repeated this sentiment during an interview with Bloomberg News the same morning, saying that the chances of a shutdown were "next to nil" and that there was "no appetite in the room on either side, in either body" for a shutdown.

Fleischmann told Bloomberg that the committee was "working toward a grand compromise." He added that this "is not going to be a deal that everybody gets what they want. But I think we're gonna see wall funding, new wall border funding, and other things that are very important to keep the American people safe. So I think we're gonna see a deal made, a deal struck, the government kept open, we are making progress. So I'm very pleased. I've been pleased from the inception, I'm pleased right now."

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