Top US lawmakers meet to avert shutdown

The top four Democratic and Republican negotiators in the US Congress on border security funding plan are to meet in an attempt to reach a deal that would avert another partial government shutdown.
House of Representatives appropriations committee chair Nita Lowey, a Democrat, Senate appropriations committee chair Richard Shelby, a Republican, and two other senior lawmakers will attend the meeting, according to a congressional aide.
Negotiations broke down during the weekend over funding for immigrant detention beds and physical barriers that would be funded along the US-Mexico border.
The lawmakers hope to reach an agreement on Monday to allow time for the legislation to pass the House and Senate and get signed by Republican President Donald Trump by Friday, when funding for the Department of Homeland Security and several other federal agencies expires.
Trump agreed on January 25 to end a 35-day partial US government shutdown without getting the $US5.7 billion he had demanded from congress for a long-promised wall along the border with Mexico.
Democrats oppose a wall, calling it ineffective, expensive and immoral.
Instead, a three-week spending deal was reached with congressional leaders to give lawmakers time to resolve their disagreements about how to address border security.

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