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Republican senators praise spending deal as path to Trump border request

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell R-KY, speaks to the media at the U.S. Capitol after a tentative deal is set to avert a second partial government shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell R-KY, speaks to the media at the U.S. Capitol after a tentative deal is set to avert a second partial government shutdown in Washington, U.S., February 12, 2019. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Senate leaders on Tuesday praised a spending agreement reached with Democrats to avert a government shutdown this week, calling it a step toward border security measures sought by President Donald Trump.

Republicans acknowledged the deal fell short of elements Trump had demanded, saying they made concessions, but got some too."It's not everything the president hoped to get, but I think it's a good step in the right direction," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters at the Capitol. "I hope he'll decide to sign it. We're all quite interested in that, as you can imagine."

Trump expressed displeasure with the deal, which offered no funds for his promised U.S.-Mexican border wall, but did not reject it outright and indicated he did not expect another government shutdown.

McConnell praised the committee of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives who worked out the deal, including Republican Richard Shelby, the Senate Appropriations Committee chairman.

"This is a down payment on where the president wants to go and where we want to go with him: that is to secure the borders of the United States. We made some concessions and we got some too," Shelby said. "We hope the president will support it."

Republican Senator John Thune called the agreement an "important breakthrough" that allows Trump to build a section of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Republican Representative Mark Meadows said he thought Trump would sign the bill. "I think he will do so reluctantly, and then obviously, have to use executive actions to secure our borders," Meadows told reporters.

(Reporting by Amanda Becker; writing by Doina Chiacu; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Dan Grebler)