The White House is seeking to calm a jittery Washington ahead of a showdown with Congress over spending, as President Trump softened his demand that a deal to keep the federal government open include money to begin construction on his long-promised border wall, the Washington Post reports. With a Friday deadline looming to pass a new spending bill, the Trump administration projected confidence that a shutdown would be avoided. In the face of fierce Democratic opposition to funding the wall’s construction, White House officials signaled yesterday that the president may be open to an agreement that includes money for border security if not specifically for a wall, with an emphasis on technology and border agents rather than a structure.
Trump showed even more flexibility in a meeting with conservative journalists, saying he is open to delaying funding for wall construction until September, a White House official confirmed. “The president is working hard to keep the government open,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he was “very confident” that an agreement would be reached by Friday, but he pointedly said he could not “guarantee” that a government closure would be averted. At issue is whether the spending measure will explicitly allocate funds toward building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. It is a campaign promise that was a rallying cry for Trump’s base and one on which he is eager to demonstrate progress by Saturday, his 100th day in office.