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Shutdown threat recedes Tuesday

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and leaders in Congress appear to be pulling back from a government shutdown over his $5 billion request for border wall funds.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders indicates that Trump doesn’t want to shut down the government, though just last week he said he’d be “proud” to over the issue of border security.

One option circulating on Capitol Hill would be to approve government funding at existing levels and kick the issue into the next Congress.

It was a turnaround after days of impasse. Without a resolution, more than 800,000 government workers could be furloughed or sent to work without pay beginning at midnight Friday, disrupting government operations days before Christmas.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s confident that there will not be a partial government shutdown, but discussions are continuing.

President Trump and Democratic lawmakers have been in a standoff over funding the government, and the main sticking point is Trump’s demand for $5 billion in taxpayer dollars for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. McConnell proposed $1.6 billion for border security plus another $1 billion in flexible funding. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer rejected the proposal, saying Democrats would not accept a billion-dollar “slush fund.”

Earlier Tuesday, McConnell said he’s “in consultation” with the White House about the path forward. He added that the administration is “extremely flexible on this issue.”