WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump isn't so sure lawmakers will reach an agreement to secure the border by Feb. 15.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Sunday, the president stated, "I personally think it's less than 50-50, but you have a lot of very good people on that board."
And if it doesn't happen? Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney says the president is "willing" to allow for another partial shutdown but maintains that isn't the goal.
Garnering congressional support for a second shutdown in two months may also be a hard sell.
"I don't know how any administration or member of Congress could think that a shutdown was a worthy pursuit," Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) told CBS's "Face the Nation."
As part of a three-week deal, a bipartisan group of 17 lawmakers from the House and Senate will hash out a plan all sides can agree on. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), who is part of that team, says he's "reasonably optimistic" a deal can be made.
Democrats admit the president has made progress by getting rid of a plan for a "concrete wall from sea to shining sea," but are pushing for more.
"Making sure that there's a bill that's evidence-based in terms of securing our borders," Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) told NBC's "Meet the Press."
Meanwhile, nearly 800,000 government workers returned to work Monday – relieved but cautious.
"They want to try to do in three weeks what they couldn't do in five weeks. So anyone that asks us, 'What do you think's going to happen?' They're going to shut down the government again," said one federal worker.
But it may not end in another partial shutdown. The president maintains he could declare a national emergency to fund the wall.
That's something his GOP colleagues fear, with some suggesting it sets a dangerous precedent.
"There might be a future president that I don't agree with, thinks something else is an emergency," lamented Blunt. "If we'll do our job he won't even have to consider going there three weeks from now."