A partial government shutdown is possible at the end of next week unless President Trump and congressional leaders resolve an impasse over funding for Trump’s long-promised U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Trump met with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at the White House on Tuesday and refused to back off his demands for at least $5 billion for his border wall in 2019. Senate Democrats have offered $1.3 billion for fencing and other border security measures. Trump went so far as to say he would be “proud” to shut down the government if he doesn’t get the money.
“I am proud to shut down the government for border security,” Trump told Schumer and Pelosi. “I will take the mantle of shutting down, and I’m going to shut it down for border security.”
House GOP leaders are weighing bringing a bill to the House floor that includes $5 billion for the wall. Pelosi, who is likely the next speaker when the 116th Congress convenes in January, said there aren’t 218 votes in the House to pass that bill. If Republicans do get the bill through the House, it won’t get 60 votes to clear the Senate.
Schumer called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to intervene in the impasse and “help pull the president back from the brink.”
McConnell said he watched the “rather spirited meeting” at the White House this week and hasn’t given up hope for a deal.
“One thing I think is pretty clear no matter who precipitates the government shutdown, the American people don’t like it,” McConnell said. “And I hope that will be avoided and that both sides will understand that’s not a great way to end what has, in my view, been the most successful right-of-center Congress in decades.”
Congress already passed spending bills earlier this year to fund about 75 percent of the government, and gave big increases to the Pentagon, the Health and Human Services Department and other agencies. But funding for the Department of Homeland Security and several other agencies will dry up Dec. 21 if Congress and Trump do not act.