White House closer to partial US government shutdown with border wall demand

Vastavam web: Pushing the government to the brink of a partial shutdown, the White House is insisting that Congress provide USD 5 billion to build a wall along the US-Mexico border despite lawmaker resistance from both parties. Without a resolution, parts of the federal government will shut down at midnight Friday. “We’re going to do whatever is necessary to build the border wall to stop this ongoing crisis of illegal immigration,” White House senior adviser Stephen Miller said Sunday. The House is taking an extended weekend break, returning Wednesday night. The Senate returns Monday after a three-day absence.

Democratic congressional leaders, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, have proposed no more than USD 1.6 billion, as outlined in a bipartisan Senate bill. The money would not go for the wall but for fencing upgrades and other border security. Democrats also offered to simply keep funding at its current level, USD 1.3 billion. 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.

Trump had neither accepted nor rejected the Democrats’ proposal as of Friday, according to the Democrats, telling them he would take a look. Trump will need Democratic votes either way, now or in the new year, for passage. Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, said Republicans remain hopeful they can come up with a proposal that can be acceptable to Trump and pass both chambers. He suggested that could take the form of a stopgap bill that extends funding until January, or a longer-term bill that includes money for border security.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, urged senators to revisit a bill she helped push earlier this year that would provide USD 2.5 billion for border security, including physical barriers as well as technology and border patrol agents.

Schumer declined to say whether Democrats would be willing to consider proposals other than the two options that he and Pelosi offered. Republicans “should join us in one of these two proposals, which would get more than enough votes passed and avoid a shutdown,” Schumer said. “Then, if the president wants to debate the wall next year, he can. I don’t think he’ll get it. But he shouldn’t use innocent workers as hostage for his temper tantrum.”