Senator Lindsey Graham says end to US government shutdown possible in 'couple of weeks'

US Senator Lindsey Graham said he has been through several government shutdowns, which he said all happen to reach a policy goal.
US Senator Lindsey Graham said he has been through several government shutdowns, which he said all happen to reach a policy goal.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - Senator Lindsey Graham said a deal to end the partial US government shutdown now in a record 29th day could be reached "in a couple of weeks", citing talks he has had with congressional Democrats and Vice President Mike Pence.

"We're at a stalemate," Mr Graham, a South Carolina Republican and an ally of President Donald Trump, told Bloomberg in Ankara on Saturday (Jan 19).

"The good news: I've been talking behind the scenes with Democrats, and the vice president. I believe there is a deal that can be reached fairly quickly. I think this can be done in a couple of weeks, not a couple of months."

Mr Graham said he has been through several government shutdowns, which he said all happen to reach a policy goal.

Mr Trump has promised a "major announcement" on the shutdown on Saturday that may offer incentives for congressional Democrats to return to talks.

On Jan 13 Mr Graham said he would like Mr Trump to reopen the federal government on a temporary basis to see whether a deal could be reached to fund the president's proposed wall on the US-Mexico border. Mr Trump told reporters a day later that he had rejected that idea.

Mr Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was in Turkey for meetings with officials including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.