Clock ticking toward another government shutdown

FILE - In this Sept. 6, 2016, file photo, the newly restored rotunda inside of the Capitol dome is finally clear of scaffolding following lengthy repairs and restoration, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Averting an election-year crisis, Congress late Wednesday, Sept. 28 sent President Barack Obama a bill to keep the government operating through Dec. 9 and provide $1.1 billion in long-delayed funding to battle the Zika virus. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON (SBG) - Time is ticking away and another government shutdown is just around the corner unless Congress and President Donald Trump can find some common ground.

On Wednesday, lawmakers from both sides met for the first time in this renewed effort to negotiate a long-term spending bill.

"I think a conference committee can reach a good result left to its own devices without interference from anybody else,” suggested speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, D-California.

If she meant the president, she wouldn’t say it. But the pressure is on because funding runs out again Feb. 15..

“These are difficult issues you know people stake out their sides in negotiations and my hope is that we can look and say where’s the win-win in all of this,” said Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Mich.

Success is anything but guaranteed. At the White House, the president said chances are less than 50-50 Congress will come up with a deal he’d agree to.

White House director of strategic communications Mercedes Schlapp told us Democrats have to find money for a border barrier if they want to avoid another shutdown.

“Look, nobody wants another shutdown but...we need to make sure that the democrats in particular come in with a good faith effort, where they have talked to experts, which they haven’t talked to these experts and they are able to produce a deal that the president would feel comfortable with,” Schlapp said.

Schlapp claims the president has already shown he's willing to negotiate by offering some protections to some undocumented immigrants already in the U.S.

"The president has already shown flexibility he has shown compromise so when speaker Pelosi got stuck with: it’s a concrete wall we don’t want a concrete wall, the wall is immoral the president said steel slats. Let’s work together on a design,” said Schlapp.

But with so much uncertainty, some lawmakers are trying to come up safety nets to automatically extend spending during budget battles and they’re also talking incentives, like suspending pay for the president and Congress during a shutdown.

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