- The Washington Times - Friday, January 4, 2019

President Trump said Friday he and Democratic leaders are finally making progress on ending the government shutdown, saying they’re now “all on the same path” — though he didn’t reveal any specifics that gave him confidence.

Mr. Trump said he’s willing to add more money to harden the border crossings, which is something Democrats have sought, but sounded firm on his demand for $5.6 billion in border wall money. That demand has been at the crux of the partial shutdown, which hit Dec. 22 after Congress failed to pass spending bills for nine departments.

The president dismissed the notion floated by some Republicans of combining wall money with an amnesty for illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” saying that will have to wait until the courts have a final say on the Obama-era DACA program.

SEE ALSO: Schumer: ‘Trump is a terrible negotiator’

But Mr. Trump, who has flip-flopped on what his wall would look like, did say he’s ready to agree to construct steel-slat fencing instead of a concrete wall.

“I think we’re probably talking about steel because I think the other side feels better about it,” he said.

Mr. Trump has ordered Vice President Mike Pence, presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to work over the weekend with people named by Democrats to try to make progress on a deal.

Republicans’ optimism Friday contrasted with Democrats, who suggested the meeting didn’t produce any results.

“It’s very hard to see how progress will be made unless they open up the government,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.

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