The on-again, off-again meeting between President Donald Trump and the top two congressional Democrats is back on, ahead of a Friday deadline to avoid a government shutdown.
In a statement Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, said they would travel to the White House Thursday to meet with Trump and GOP Hill leaders to discuss the spate of year-end issues that need to be resolved.
"We're glad the White House has reached out and asked for a second meeting. We hope the President will go into this meeting with an open mind, rather than deciding that an agreement can't be reached beforehand," the two Democrats said in a joint statement, referencing a tweet from Trump that blew up their last scheduled meeting when Trump said he doubted a deal could be reached.
That negative assessment from Trump caused Schumer and Pelosi to abruptly back out of the meeting, which was held without them. Photographers were invited in to take pictures of the empty chairs where they were supposed to sit.
Trump and lawmakers have a long to-do list before the end of the year, including the GOP-led tax reform effort and reaching deals related to keeping the government funded into the new year.
"We need to reach a budget agreement that equally boosts funds for our military and key priorities here at home including the opioid crisis, pension plans and rural infrastructure," Schumer and Pelosi said in their statement. "We have to provide funding for community health centers and (the Children's Health Insurance Program), as well as relief for the millions of Americans still reeling from natural disasters. And we must also come together on a bipartisan deal to pass the DREAM Act along with tough border security measures. There is a bipartisan path forward on all of these items."
They added, "As negotiations with our Republican counterparts continue, we are hopeful the President will be open to an agreement to address the urgent needs of the American people and keep government open."
This BBSNews article originally appeared on News | WPLG.