WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on negotiations on a budget bill (all times local):
The Office of Management and Budget has begun taking routine steps in preparation for a potential government shutdown that the White House is hoping to avoid.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer stressed that the steps were required ahead of the expiration of government funding at the end of next week.
Still, he characterized a funding lapse as “unlikely” and says the White House remains “confident that we’re not going to have a shutdown.”
The administration is insisting on money for Trump’s promised Southern border wall and wants other items rejected by Democrats as part of the proposed spending bill.
Spicer says that the administration has made the president’s priorities clear, but adds: “we’re committed to not having a shutdown.”
The White House budget director says money for the wall President Donald Trump wants to build along the U.S. border with Mexico must be part of the massive spending bill Congress is preparing.
Trump’s budget chief, Mick Mulvaney, tells The Associated Press in an interview that additional funding also must be included to hire more immigration agents.
Lawmakers hope to unveil the catchall spending bill next week. The $1 trillion-plus legislation is leftover business from last year’s election-season gridlock and would cover the operating budgets of every Cabinet department except for Veterans Affairs.
Talks on the spending bill have hit a rough patch — and a deadline to avert a government shutdown looms late next week.
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