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Government shutdown deal reached, Richard Shelby says

The Senate’s top spending negotiator said Monday night that Republicans and Democrats have reached an agreement in principle on a new deal to avert a government shutdown.

Details were scarce, and text of the agreement wasn’t expected until later in the week, but Sen. Richard Shelby said they had settled the sticking points.

“We’ve had a good evening. We reached an agreement in principle between us,” said Mr. Shelby, Alabama Republican.

He and the others working on a deal went into a meeting at 8 p.m., just a day after talks broke down with a last-minute demand by Democrats to try to limit deportations by cutting funding for detention space at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Mr. Shelby said the deal entails a homeland security spending bill, along with six other individual spending bills that fund departments like the IRS and NASA that fell victim to the recent 35-day partial shutdown.

He said the deal does not include disaster relief money to assist victims of recent hurricanes and wildfires.

“Not a single one of us is going to get every single thing we want, but nobody does,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, Vermont Democrat. “But we’re going to get what is best for the United States.”

Mr. Shelby and Mr. Leahy, along with House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey and GOP Rep. Kay Granger, met multiple times at the Capitol Monday to try to iron out an agreement.

“If the four of us couldn’t get it together, this Congress never could,” Mr. Leahy said. “We have gotten it together.”

Mr. Shelby said they think and hope the White House will support the deal.

Asked if he had sign-off from leadership, Mr. Shelby said: “Senator [Mitch] McConnell told me to get it done.”

Just a day earlier, Mr. Shelby had put prospects of a deal at 50-50.

But he said the specter of yet another government shutdown at the end of the week re-energized the stalled talks.

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