President Donald Trump has stepped back from demanding a down payment for his border wall in must-past spending legislation, potentially removing a major obstacle to a bipartisan deal just days ahead of a government shutdown deadline.
Trump told a gathering of around 20 conservative media reporters on Monday evening that he would be willing to return to the wall funding issue in September, according to two people who were in the room who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The border wall money is fiercely opposed by Democrats, whose votes are needed to pass the government-wide spending legislation that comes due on Friday at midnight.
The wall is also unpopular with many Republicans, and GOP negotiators on Capitol Hill were uneasy about the clash over the wall potentially sparking a government shutdown.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, who has a key role providing Democratic votes to pass the legislation, welcomed Trump’s reported shift on the wall.
“It’s good for the country that President Trump is taking the wall off the table in these negotiations,” Schumer said.
“Now the bipartisan and bicameral negotiators can continue working on the outstanding issues.”
The wall was the most pressing issue confronting lawmakers as they returned from a two-week spring recess to face a critical deadline.