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Trump, Democrats face off over potential government shutdown

Rep. Mark Meadows R-N.C. chairman of the conservative Freedom Caucus arrives for a closed-door strategy session with House Republicans as the deadline looms to pass a spending bill to fund the government by week's end on Capitol Hill in Washingto

President Donald Trump warned Wednesday that a government shutdown was possible this weekend because Democrats were demanding to have "illegal immigrants pouring into our country", tossing incendiary rhetoric onto a partisan showdown that had been showing signs of easing.

Republicans have a majority in both the House and Senate.

To jumpstart that negotiating, Trump and congressional leaders agreed to meet Thursday an attempt to reach agreements. We want to have a great, attractive crime-free country, ' Trump said during a cabinet meeting. "And we hope that we're going to make some great progress for our country".

This meeting is a make-up of sorts.

Pelosi also told reporters Thursday that lawmakers "will not leave here" without a deal to help immigrants who came to the US illegally as children and are enrolled in the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which Trump ended three months ago.

"We're here in the spirit of 'let's get it done, '" Schumer said in the Oval Office on Thursday.

House conservatives had raised objections to the current plan to extend funding until December 22 before reaching a longer-term deal because they worry the pressure to leave town right before Christmas will give Democrats leverage to get more of their priorities included in a spending bill at that time.

Trump on Wednesday ignored Democrats' pleas to include a measure saving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that he axed with a six-month delay earlier this year on the basis that it was an unconstitutional executive action by the previous administration.

Democrats have a rare bit of leverage in this situation.

Her statement suggested Republicans would have to find the votes they need to pass the bill among their own members. That would give bargainers time to work through their disagreements, but they will need Democratic votes to succeed.

The group is convening to continue negotiations on critical end-of-year spending legislation, with Democrats and Republicans deeply divided on defense and immigration priorities.

The White House was looking for at least a short-term funding extension without other policy provisions attached. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said she expected Democrats to vote for the government funding bill this week, telling Reuters in an interview that while it "is important to all of us" to take care of the Dreamers, "I don't think we should shut the government down". Trump repealed DACA in September, ending the program that protects young immigrants who were brought to the US illegally as children from deportation. DACA keeps those almost 700,000 immigrants from being deported by immigration authorities.

Democrats have a rare chance to win major concessions in a US Congress they do not control by taking advantage of a battle within the Republican Party over keeping the government open.

Pelosi, discussing the immigration issue, said Democrats were willing to accept new funding for border security, but not for a border wall. Conservative Republicans said on Tuesday they would try to pass temporary spending bills without House Democrats' support. Also on the agenda would be other year-end matters, including protection from deportation for undocumented immigrants brought to the children, hurricane disaster aid and an extension of the expired Children's Health Insurance Program.