Border Security

Government Funding Fight Reaches Fever Pitch

President and lawmakers are standing by their respective demands as a shutdown deadline lies ahead

Image Credit: Al Drago/Getty Images & SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump and lawmakers are tossing around blame and standing by their respective demands on Friday with a government shutdown deadline hours away.

Trump has threatened to veto any spending bills that don’t include $5 billion for his border wall.

Democratic leaders have refused to give him any funding for the wall. The standoff has put the parties on the verge of a partial government shutdown with little sign they will resolve the dispute quickly.

“The Democrats, whose votes we need in the Senate, will probably vote against border security and the wall even though they know it is DESPERATELY NEEDED,” Trump tweeted Friday.

“If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time. People don’t want open borders and crime,” he also said.

Trump said in a later tweet that the Democrats are now to blame for the shutdown.

He had previously seemed ready to allow a shutdown in the name of border security during a contentious meeting last week with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced a continuing resolution this week to keep the government funded at current levels until February 8.

The Senate quickly passed it Wednesday before it moved along to the House. The House Freedom Caucus argued from the floor against the bill — and urged a fight for border wall funding that night.

On Thursday Trump came out against the short-term spending bill. The House responded by passing a version of the bill, which also included $5.7 billion for his border wall.

“Leader Pelosi, Leader McConnell and myself have done everything we can to avoid a shutdown, but President Trump wants one,” Schumer said on Friday. “He’s asked for one 25 times, and he said in front of us he’d be proud to shut down the government. It is nothing to be proud of.”

The Senate could attempt to vote on Friday on the updated version of the bill that includes the border wall funding.

“We’re going to continue to be talking this afternoon and right now I’m going to open the Senate and begin to move forward with a process on the House-passed bill,” McConnell told reporters after returning from a meeting with the president, reported The Hill.

Trump also urged McConnell to go with the nuclear option when it comes to the filibuster. That would involve a simple majority vote to end the two-thirds vote required to end a filibuster. Democrats could use the filibuster to prevent or delay a debate on the border wall.

McConnell rejected the idea because it would undermine a bipartisan tool and could backfire when Democrats regain the majority.

Congress already had to pass a continuing resolution to fund the federal government for two weeks to avoid a shutdown December 7. An earlier spending bill also included a continuing resolution that extended the original deadline on September 30.

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