Trump signals retreat on wall funding, but shutdown threat remains

Brendan Smialowski  AFP  Getty Images

Brendan Smialowski AFP Getty Images

Democrats had offered to maintain the current funding of $1.3 billion, which would cover fencing and improvements along the border, but would not support a wall.

White House senior adviser Stephen Miller said Sunday that building the wall remained a top priority and that Trump was "absolutely" prepared to shut down government to achieve that goal. Costs would likely be in the billions of dollars.

Sen. Richard Shelby, who heads the Appropriations Committee that is writing the spending bill, has said that number is the President's "red line" - a sentiment Trump only affirmed last week when he said he would be "proud" to shut down the government in the name of border security during a meeting with Democratic leaders Sen.

And the Alabama Republican said he assumed that President Donald Trump would sign the bill.

"President Trump has asked every one of his cabinet secretaries to look for funding that can be used to protect our borders and give the president the ability to fulfill his constitutional obligations to protect the American people by having a secure border", she said.

Congressional leaders say they are opposed to a shutdown.

- United States officials closed the San Ysidro crossing point in southern California on Sunday after hundreds of migrants, part of the "caravan" condemned by President Donald Trump, tried to breach a fence from Tijuana, authorities announced.

"If Leader McConnell puts a short-term CR on the table, it's something we'd very seriously consider", Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said following his party's caucus lunch.

Pelosi has questioned whether Trump has the votes to push the $5 billion funding even through the House.

Said Schumer: "President Trump should understand, there are not the votes for the wall in the House or the Senate".

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Trump said it was still "too early to say" whether a deal could be struck in time.

"We'll see what happens".

The closure could potentially spill into early January, when the new Congress - including a Democratically controlled House of Representatives - is sworn in.

Sanders indicated that the White House could support a compromise bill to avoid a partial government shutdown later this week.

"We need to make a substantial investment in the integrity of our border", McConnell said.

Senate leaders are furiously negotiating to avert the federal shutdown, which could see nine of 15 vital agencies - including the departments of transport, commerce, homeland security and agriculture - closed for the Christmas holidays.

Several federal agencies will shut down on Friday if Congress and the president fail to reach agreement on funding.

About half the workers would be forced to continue working without immediate pay.

Congress already approved funding this year for about 75 percent of the government's discretionary account for the budget year that began October 1.

"His temper tantrum will get him a shutdown, but it will not get him a wall", Schumer said. About 75 percent of the government is already funded through September 2019.

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