US president Donald Trump is threatening to shut down the government in order to secure the funding he needs to build his proposed border wall with Mexico.
“The obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it, but believe me, if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall,” Trump said at a rally in Arizona.
He went on to say he had been elected to help boost national security and keep illegal immigrants out of the country and those opposing the wall were hindering those efforts.
“We are building a wall on the southern border, which is absolutely necessary,” he said.
“Let me be very clear to Democrats in Congress who oppose a border wall and stand in the way of border security,” he added. “You are putting all of Americans’ safety at risk.”
Republicans in Congress need support from Democrats by the end of September to raise the federal government’s debt limit.
Trump is seeking federal funding for the wall, and is now threatening to veto any legislation that comes to his desk until it gets the required support in Congress.
Earlier this month, Jonathan Swan at Axios looked at Trump’s path to funding the wall. He concluded: “The wall is no metaphor to Trump. He will accept no substitutes to a huge, long, physical wall, which he believes his voters viscerally want. He told GOP Hill leaders in June he wants it to be 40 to 50 feet high and covered with solar panels. Hill Republicans privately mocked that idea, but some of those same people now recognize that Trump’s big, beautiful — and in their minds, ridiculous — wall could be the thing that brings the U.S. government to its knees.”
Many suggest Trump’s attacks on key Republican lawmakers such as senator John McCain, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Lisa Murkowski have hurt his chances of accomplishing such legislative priorities. This latest move is expected to inflame those tensions.
Earlier in the day, the Democratic National Committee caused a stir after it sent out a release which detailing Trump’s “empty promises on border wall.”
“Trump has failed to deliver on his signature promise to build a border wall and have Mexico pay for it,” the DNC release read. “Trump even admitted in a private conversation with Mexico that his border wall promise was ‘the least important thing.'”
In July, the House of Representatives granted $US1.6 billion ($AU2 billion) toward the wall — enough to pay for 74 miles (119km) of barriers along the southwest border.
Meanwhile the Department of Homeland Security has estimated that the wall would cost approximately $21.6 billion ($AU27 billion) in total.
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