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Shutdown Looms As Trump, Democrats Dig Into Border-Wall Funding Disagreement

18 December, 2018, 12:43 | Author: Ted Wilson
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Another would be for Mr Trump to settle for the roughly US$1.4 billion that's now allocated for border fencing, which may be unlikely if Mr Trump sees the spending bill as his last chance to get his way before Democrats take over the House of Representatives in January. Trump was also tweeting Monday to keep up the pressure.

The president and congress only has five days to iron out the disagreement before a partial shutdown which could leave about a quarter of the federal workforce without pay checks. "We should not let a temper tantrum, threats, push us in the direction of doing something that everybody, even our Republican colleagues, know is wrong", Schumer said.

The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security would be vulnerable to shutdowns, although "essential" employees, such as Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, airport security screeners and border patrol agents, would still report to work.

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said he spoke with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., about "how to resolve our dilemma", The Hill reported.

Such is the nightmare public relations scenario facing the White House less than a week before the Department of Homeland Security and other key government agencies run out of money at midnight Friday while Trump is scheduled to fly that day to his Mar-a-Lago resort for a 16-day vacation.

Showing no signs of budging, Schumer said Sunday that it was up to Trump to decide whether the federal government will partially shut down, sending thousands of federal employees home without pay during the holidays.

Large swaths of the government already are funded through next September, including the U.S. military and agencies that operate public healthcare, education and veterans' programmes.

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Trump, during his 2016 presidential campaign, promised that Mexico would pay for the wall. Trump is also bolstered by support of rank-and-file Border Patrol agents, whose union leader told the president in a recent Oval Office conversation that they would back a wall-induced shutdown if it came to that point.

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer stressed there are not enough votes in Congress to pass wall funding, and that it would be up to Trump to repeal his demand.

Presidents Obama and Trump at their post-midterm press conferences.

One solution would be a temporary stop-gap measure that provides government funding through January.

Trump took a swipe at Democratic lawmakers Monday morning, mocking their usage of the term "border security" and noting that it is possible secure the border without a physical barrier.

GOP leaders, though, were frustrated as the clock ticked away.

In response to a question about how he felt when some of his Democratic friends and supporters in Congress lost their reelection bids, Obama said: "It feels bad". Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said any planning was a "very closely held thing. We should pass the bills the way we're supposed to pass them".



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