President Donald Trump once again threatened the possibility of a government shutdown, this time over funding for the construction of a border wall along the southern border.
“If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall,” Trump said during an Aug. 22 rally in Phoenix.
The White House didn’t walk back the president’s shutdown comments, instead reiterating Trump’s commitment to building a border wall.
“We’re looking forward to working with Congress to get funding for the border wall,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Aug. 23. “This was something the president campaigned on, he ran on it and he won on it. And he’s going to make sure that — and has definite plans to make sure that it gets built. The border wall is a priority for the president. It’s vital to security, the immigration system. And restoring law and order to the country’s immigration system is one of the president’s main priorities. This a big step in that direction.”
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This isn’t the first time the president has indicated the possibility of closing the government.
Trump first suggested in early May the government “needs a good shutdown in September,” when he expressed his displeasure over the compromise budget deal lawmakers wrote for the remaining five months of fiscal 2017.
The House passed a “minibus” of appropriations bills before leaving town at the end of July. The minibus sets appropriations for the departments of Defense, Energy, Interior, Veterans Affairs and other agencies, as well as the legislative branch. It also contains $1.6 billion for the construction of a physical wall along the southern border.
Democrats vehemently opposed border wall funding in the House minibus, and Senate Democrats have similarly said they’d block legislation that included it.
Regardless of congressional disagreement over the border wall, multiple budget experts say the House minibus has little chance of Senate passage, as the appropriations bill sets topline figures above the spending caps in the Budget Control Act of 2011.
Congress has little time to strike a deal for fiscal 2018 when it returns Sept. 5 from August recess. Budget experts also say the government may reach the end of the fiscal year and the debt ceiling limit within days of one another and predicted both events would play into lawmakers’ decisions in September.
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