Trump invited the New York Democrat on Friday morning as Congress scrambled to find an agreement ahead of a midnight shutdown deadline. Only four people were in the meeting: Schumer, Trump, White House chief of staff John Kelly and Schumer’s chief of staff, a White House official told CNBC. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., did not attend.
Walking into the Oval Office on Friday afternoon, Schumer said “I hope” a deal can get reached. Schumer left the White House after 2 p.m. ET on Friday after meeting with Trump for about 90 minutes.
“We had a long and detailed meeting,” he told reporters at the Capitol after the meeting. “We discussed all of the major outstanding issues. We made some progress, but we still have a good number of disagreements. The discussions will continue.”
On Thursday night, the House, with nearly all Republican votes, passed a measure that would fund the government through Feb. 16. It would also reauthorize the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program — an addition meant to get Democrats on board — and delay some Affordable Care Act taxes.
As it stood early Friday afternoon, that bill appeared doomed in the Senate if the chamber took it up later in the day, as expected.
If lawmakers cannot pass a spending plan by the end of Friday, some government agencies will run out of money. Republicans, who hold the White House, House and Senate, have put the burden on Senate Democrats to avert a shutdown.
Schumer has pushed for a shorter-term funding extension of only a few days to give lawmakers more time to strike a deal on bipartisan immigration legislation, which Democrats wanted to see passed this week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shot down on the notion of approving funding for that length of time.
“These incredibly short-term extensions would not even give us enough time to actually write the legislation the Democratic leader is demanding,” McConnell said Friday. “One extremely short term CR (continuing resolution) would lead to another and another.”
An earlier White House briefing in which officials put pressure on Senate Democrats to back the House-passed plan was delayed when Trump, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and White House director of legislative affairs Marc Short got on the phone with Schumer to continue negotiations, a White House official told CNBC. Trump invited Schumer during that call.
A spending bill would need 60 votes to pass the Senate, which means 10 or more Democrats would have to support it. As at least three Republicans and many more Democrats announced they would vote against the House-passed plan, its chance of clearing the Senate looked dim entering Friday.