White House working on avoiding shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Congress and the budget (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

The White House says it is working to keep the government from shutting down when funding runs out on Friday.

Asked whether a shutdown was possible, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Tuesday that a shutdown is always possible. But she said “it’s certainly not what we hope for.”

Sanders noted that Democratic congressional leaders — Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer — will attend a White House meeting later this week to discuss spending. The Democrats backed out of a similar meeting last week after President Donald Trump criticized them on Twitter.

Republican leaders have delayed a House vote planned for Wednesday on a short-term budget bill to buy more time to quell GOP divisions over spending and avert a government shutdown over the weekend.

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3:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump has received an earful from four American families who favor the tax-cut legislation pending in Congress.

An Indiana man who works in technology called the bill a “huge win” and said it will help his company attract and keep top-tier talent.

A Virginia man who employs military veterans at a woodworking business argued for a simpler tax code and lower rates.

A North Dakota state lawmaker and environmental specialist at a coal mine said her company is excited about a reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent.

A second military veteran and Ohio businessman told Trump an easier tax system will help make America stronger.

House and Senate lawmakers still must overcome differences in competing versions of the bill before Trump can sign tax cuts into law.

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1:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump is predicting that Congress will come together quickly to reconcile differences in a sweeping tax overhaul passed by the House and the Senate.

Trump says in a meeting with a half dozen Republican senators at the White House that he calls the joint House-Senate conference committee “the mixer.”

Trump says, “everyone gets together and they pick all the good things and get rid of the things they don’t like.”

In reality, the conference will involve tough negotiations over differences in the two versions of the tax bill that can be approved by both chambers.

Trump says the end result will be “perfecto” and something will come out of conference “pretty quickly.”

Trump and the lawmakers were also discussing trade, including ongoing talks over NAFTA.

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12:20 p.m.

Republican…

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