3. Behind closed doors
White House legislative-affairs officials Marc Short and Joyce Meyer met Wednesday with Paul Ryan's chief of staff Jonathan Burks and the Speaker's policy director, Austin Smythe. The purpose of the meeting was for Team Ryan to brief the administration on leadership's efforts to craft a bill to keep the government funded at the end of April.
It was a cordial conversation, but there remain plenty of obstacles to passing a bill. Trump's legislative-affairs team still thinks it can pass the spending bill through the House with the support of Republicans. House leadership doesn't think it's realistic that the House Freedom Caucus would vote for a spending bill; so it's more advanced towards grabbing Democratic votes.
Context: Appropriators are writing a bill to fund the rest of fiscal year 2017. They need Democrats to get to 60 votes so lots of the controversial (read: conservative) stuff is being thrown overboard. The White House felt like the plans — at least where they stood last week — could've been drafted by Obama.
Sticking point: The White House wants money for the wall in the bill, and Senate Democrats have made it very clear they will filibuster that. Smart congressional staff are trying to figure out an alternative solution in that space that Democrats could live with.