Trump’s budget director floats a deal with Democrats on the wall and Obamacare, and they’re not having it

As the possibility of a government shutdown looms, the horse trading over what to include in a funding bill has begun in earnest.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said at a Bloomberg Live event on Friday that for every $US1 in funding that goes toward a border wall in the funding bill, the Trump administration would put $US1 of funding toward Obamacare.

“We’d offer them $US1 of CSR payments for $US1 of wall payments. Right now that’s the offer that we’ve given to our Democratic colleagues,” Mulvaney said.

Mulvaney was referring to cost-sharing reduction payments, which are provided in the Affordable Care Act to insurers to help offset higher costs associated with covering lower-income Americans without prohibitively high deductibles. Without the payments, most health policy experts agree that the Obamacare individual insurance exchanges would see skyrocketing costs and fewer insurer offerings.

Democrats strongly objected to Mulvaney’s proposal, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office likening the idea to a hostage situation.

“The White House gambit to hold hostage health care for millions of Americans, in order to force American taxpayers to foot the bill for a wall that the President said would be paid for by Mexico is a complete non-starter,” a Schumer spokesman said in a statement.

“The US government is supposed to take care of its citizens and, according to the President, Mexico is supposed to pay for the wall. If the administration would drop their 11th hour demand for a wall that Democrats, and a good number of Republicans oppose, Congressional leaders could quickly reach a deal.”

The federal government will partially shut down Friday if Congress does not pass a bill to keep the government funded.

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