Political News

Trump weighs in on immigration, funding talks: 'Working on it'

Posted January 17, 2018 5:09 p.m. EST

— President Donald Trump promised that his administration is "working on it" as he faced a flurry of questions Wednesday about discussions to reach an immigration deal and fund the government.

"We're working on it. We're working on it," Trump told reporters as he walked down the halls of Congress after attending an award ceremony honoring former Sen. Bob Dole.

His comments come as congressional leaders of both parties and top White House officials continue to negotiate an agreement to fund the government days before it is set to run out of money.

Trump's time on Capitol Hill was not spent negotiating with congressional leaders he has rankled in recent days after making disparaging comments about African countries and Haiti during a meeting with lawmakers last week, but his chief of staff John Kelly made the rounds of key lawmakers' offices on Wednesday in pursuit of a deal.

Kelly has been leading the White House's efforts to reach a deal to give legal status to undocumented immigrants who will soon no longer be protected by the expiring DACA protections, while also increasing border security funding. Democrats and some Republicans looking to extend those protections have threatened not to vote to keep the government open unless a DACA deal is reached by Friday.

But with an immigration deal appearing no closer to being brokered, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday that Trump would support a short-term deal to keep the government open while broader negotiations continue.

And with the prospects of a shutdown, the White House is already kicking a preemptive blame game into gear. Sanders argued Democrats should be blamed if the government shuts down.

"The President certainly doesn't want a shutdown. And if one happens, I think you have only one place to look, and that's to the Democrats," Sanders said earlier Wednesday.