Trump Signals Defeat on Wall Demand as Christmas Crisis Deadline Nears

White House closer to partial shutdown with wall demand
US headed towards partial government shutdown over Mexico wall funding deadlock

20 December, 2018

The U.S. Congress began advancing legislation on Wednesday to fund several federal agencies through February 8 to avert a partial government shutdown, but without including money for a U.S. -Mexico border wall that President Donald Trump demanded. Miller says Trump is prepared to do "whatever is necessary" to build a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

Trump said last week he would be "proud" to have a shutdown to get Congress to approve a $5 billion down payment to fulfill his campaign promise to build a wall on the U.S. -Mexico border. But that outcome is not assured and is not the same as his campaign promise that Mexico would pay for the wall, which the country has refused to do. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said his party would support the measure.

The Senate's top Republican and Democratic leaders began negotiating new proposals, and talks were expected to continue. The White House on Sunday, Dec. 16, pushed the federal government closer to the brink of a partial shutdown later this week, digging in on its demand for $5 billion to build a border wall as congressional Democrats stood firm against it. "One way or the other, we will win on the Wall!".

The House of Representatives would then have to pass the bill and hope that Trump signs it into law, avoiding a shutdown because existing funding for the agencies will expire at midnight on Friday.

Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey of NY, who will take over as Appropriations Committee chairwoman, said she was disappointed that Trump and the Republican Congress "couldn't even complete their final task of funding the government" and instead chose to "kick the can down the road for a third time". They had proposed keeping funding at current levels of US$1.3 billion (NZ$1.9 billion) for border security fencing and other improvements but not for the wall.

Democrats aren't feeling it: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) dismissed the idea that Congress would provide a "slush fund" for the Trump administration to use as it sees fit for immigration enforcement.

Will Trump shut down government over border wall
Will Trump shut down government over border wall

Trump had neither accepted nor rejected the Democrats' proposal as of Friday, according to the Democrats, telling them he would take a look.

"He is not going to get the wall in any form", Schumer said. "We want to shut down the border from illegal immigration". Schumer said there will be no wall money, "plain and simple".

"We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion", Sanders said on Fox News. Trump said in a morning tweet.

"Who would want to shut the government down?" he said.

At a press conference in November, Trump referenced Democratic support for the "Secure Fence Act of 2006", saying that "Many of the people that we'll be dealing with, you know, in 2006, they approved the wall, essentially".

At issue in the standoff is money for nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks and forests.

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