Trump wants $5 billion to fund a wall.
Will border wall funding determine if the government shuts down next week?
President Donald Trump told Politico that “he would ‘totally be willing’ to shut down the government” if he doesn’t receive $5 billion in border wall funding, but The Washington Post reported that Trump said “[T]here are other potential ways” he can get it.
Congress has to “pass seven appropriations bills by next Friday, or risk a lapse of funding that would interrupt operations at the Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department, State Department and other federal agencies.”
Republicans still have control of the House and Senate until next month when the Democrats will take over the House. The Republicans will have two more seats in the Senate.
More than likely Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will become Speaker of the House again. In October, she said that she doesn’t see any Democrats voting for wall funding. She told Harvard students that she wouldn’t “be willing to trade” anything for wall funding and described it as a “manhood issue for the president.”
Trump sounded a little casual about wall funding on Tuesday with The Washington Post:
“We need Democrat votes to have a wall,” Trump said. “Now, if we don’t get it, will I get it done another way? I might get it done another way. There are other potential ways that I can do it. You saw what we did with the military, just coming in with the barbed wire and the fencing, and various other things.”
Trump has deployed roughly 5,800 troops to the U.S. border with Mexico, and more than 12 miles of barbed wire have been set up in recent weeks, including at the San Ysidro crossing, where U.S. border agents on Sunday fired tear gas at Central American migrants attempting to cross into the country from Tijuana.
Trump’s tone changed on Wednesday during an interview with Politico:
“I don’t do anything … just for political gain,” Trump said. “But I will tell you, politically speaking, that issue is a total winner. People look at the border, they look at the rush to the police, they look at the rock throwers and really hurting three people, three very brave border patrol folks — I think that it’s a tremendous issue, but much more importantly, is really needed. So we have to have border security.”
Trump was referring to a confrontation at the southern border on Sunday in which some migrants threw rocks at U.S. Border Patrol officers, although his claim that three were seriously hurt is unsubstantiated.
His insistence on $5 billion for the wall — “I am firm,” he said — does suggest a real risk of a partial government shutdown. Congress must pass seven appropriations bills by next Friday, or risk a lapse of funding that would interrupt operations at the Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department, State Department and other federal agencies. Democrats will take control over a slice of Washington in 37 days, the first time they’ve controlled any lever of power in Trump’s Washington.
Trump met with Republican House leaders on Tuesday, but we do not know how they will fund the wall. Sources within the GOP have optimism they’ll receive some support from Democrats “so they start 2019 with a fresh spending slate.”
Two Republican leaders spoke after the meeting:
“The real question is, do Democrats want to shut the government down over whether or not to keep America safe? That’s a serious question they’re going to have to ask at a time when there are people attacking our own law enforcement agents at the border,” said House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who met with Trump on Tuesday afternoon along with other House Republican leaders.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who also attended the meeting with Trump, told reporters that the president was “very solid with where he wants to go” on the funding.
“It’s the way our government works that you have to find compromise,” McCarthy said. “And I think what the president’s saying [with] $5 billion, he’s finding compromise there. But we need that to secure the border.”
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