The government has three days to come up with a plan to avoid a partial government shutdown on Friday.

As of today, it looks like if it happens, the blame will fall on the Democrats instead of President Donald Trump. The Democrats rejected the latest offer from the GOP even though the White House said officials may “have other ways” to achieve raising $5 billion for a border wall.

The White House

Trump remained firm on his demand for $5 billion for the wall on our southern border. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said today that may change. From CNBC:

“We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion that we’ll work with Congress,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News on Tuesday morning. She added that the Trump administration could support $1.6 billion in border security funding proposed by Senate Democrats, as long as it can “couple that with other funding resources” to get to $5 billion.

She added that “at the end of the day, we don’t want to shut down the government. We want to shut down the border.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have cast the potential lapse in funding as the “Trump shutdown.” When Pelosi goaded Trump into an Oval Office fracas last week, the characterization appeared to irritate the president.

Sanders’ comments mark a de-escalation in the White House’s rhetoric on the proposed barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump has repeatedly threatened to force a shutdown if he cannot secure money for the wall. As a candidate, he promised to force Mexico to fund the barrier.

She added:

“There is certainly a number of different funding sources that we’ve identified that we can use that we can couple with the money that would be given through congressional appropriations to help us get to the $5 billion the president needs in order to protect our border,” Sanders said.

Sanders said she does not believe the administration wants to shut down the government, but reiterated the president’s commitment to get border wall funding.

“At the end of the day we don’t want to shut down the government. We want to shut down the border from illegal immigration, from drugs coming into this country and make sure we know who is coming and why they’re coming,” Sanders said. “That’s what the president is focused on and he is not going to back down until he gets what he needs to make sure the people of this country are protected.”

It’s a change from last week when Sanders said the administration wanted Congress to find a way to get the $5 billion. This has left Congress in a tizzy because no one knows exactly what Trump wants or will sign. Sanders only said that Trump wants to “see whhat the Senate can pass” before he decides to sign it.

Sanders addressed the subject in a short press briefing today:

The Democrats

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) met with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Tuesday and “proposed an appropriations bill that includes money for border security fencing, as well as what a Senate Democratic aide described as a $1 billion ‘slush fund’ that Trump could use on his immigration policies.”

That slush fund would not go towards the wall, according to a McConnell spokesperson.

The deal overall allocated $1.6 billion for the wall along with the $1 billion slush fund to secure the border, but it “would not be officially budgeted as border security funding.”

Needless to say the Democrats didn’t accept the offer.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that a short-term funding bill may have to happen. She confirmed that her and Schumer cannot accept a slush fund “for the president to implement his very wrong immigration policies.”

 
 
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