Trump, facing divided Congress, calls for unity, bipartisan cooperation

At the same time, Mr Trump warned that Democratic efforts to investigate his administration, along with the possibility of United States involvement in wars overseas, would endanger the U.S. economy.

Committee members initially were hoping to finalize a deal by Friday, but they're now reportedly looking to wrap up their talks by Monday in order to leave enough time for Congress to pass their compromise package before the February 15 shutdown deadline.

As his economic advisers work to complete a trade deal with China, Mr Trump said any agreement "must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs". Richard Shelby of Alabama told reporters after discussing the parameters of the potential pact with Trump in the Oval Office.

No. 2 House GOP leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana told reporters that "from the things that I'm hearing, this agreement could get a majority of both Republicans and Democrats in the House". Another joked: 'He's likely the smartest Trump'.

"If Congress won't participate or won't go along, we'll figure out a way to do it with executive authority", Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on Fox News Channel's "Hannity" on Wednesday. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, reacted pointedly to some of Trump's remarks. Underscoring the clout he's lost during a battle that's dominated the opening weeks of divided government, the amount seems sure to fall much closer to $1.6 billion, the participants said, a figure that was in a bipartisan Senate bill a year ago.

Besides the dollar figure, talks were focusing on the type and location of barriers, participants said.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., a negotiator, said both sides are showing flexibility.

Negotiators emerged Wednesday from a closed-door meeting with border experts to say they believe there is a role for additional fencing of some sort - though the details remain to be worked out. Roy Blunt, Republican-Mo., another participant, said both sides are showing flexibility, including Democrats who insisted during the recently-ended 35-day shutdown on no wall funding at all.

Top Democrats are now signaling they're open to some kind of enhanced physical barrier along the southern border, raising chances for a spending deal to avert another government shutdown next week.

"Border walls and the associated hyper-militarization of the border region don't make us safer", the Hispanic Caucus said. "And I think he's, from my perspective, been quite reasonable".

Ms Pelosi, who wore white like many Democratic lawmakers to celebrate the 100th anniversary of American women gaining the right to vote, applauded half-heartedly at times and frequently sat stony-faced through Mr Trump's address.

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., a negotiator, said it was "unrealistic" to think there would be no funding for physical barriers.

That means resisting any new wall money, as well as refusing to approve the president's request for more detention beds to hold immigrants awaiting deportation.

Still, lawmakers have grown accustomed to expecting the unexpected from Trump.

Vanessa Coleman

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