Trump is abruptly threatening to veto the spending bill and force a government shutdown over the border wall

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesPresident Donald Trump.
  • There is growing concern that President Donald Trump will veto the short-term funding bill and force the government into a partial shutdown on Friday.
  • Trump appears to be angry about the bill’s lack of funding for a wall along the US-Mexico border.
  • This funding fight may be the last chance Trump has to get any money for the wall, given the incoming Democratic majority in the House.
  • Conservative House members and many pro-Trump media members also urged Trump to veto the bill.

President Donald Trump signalled he might veto a short-term funding bill over its lack of funding for a wall along the US-Mexico border, a move that would push the federal government toward a partial shutdown.

In a tweet Thursday, Trump seemed to express dissatisfaction with Congress’ course of action: a clean, short-term funding bill, known as a continuing resolution, or CR, that would keep the government open until February 8 but includes no funding for a border wall.

“When I begrudgingly signed the Omnibus Bill, I was promised the Wall and Border Security by leadership,” Trump said, referring to a major two-year budget agreement he signed in March. “Would be done by end of year (NOW). It didn’t happen! We foolishly fight for Border Security for other countries – but not for our beloved U.S.A. Not good!”

Trump reiterated those comments during a speech at the signing of the new Farm Bill.

“I’ve made my position very clear, any measure that find the government must include vorder security, has to,” Trump said, later clarfiying that a key part of border security is a “powerful, physical barrier.”


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House Republican leadership on Thursday abruptly canceled the final scheduled press conference and met with Trump at the White House. Following the meeting, House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters that more funding for border security would be added to the bill, which the Senate passed on Wednesday.

“The president said he would not sign this bill, so we’re going to go back and work on adding border security to this while also keeping the government open,” Ryan said.

McCarthy said Trump made it clear that he thought the Senate’s short-term bill was not sufficient.

“The president said what the Senate sent over is just kicking the can down the road,” he said. “We want to solve this problem. We want to keep the government open. And we’re going to work to have that done.”

The CR is the result of a month of contentious negotiations over the shutdown deadline, with Trump demanding $US5 billion in funding for a wall and Democrats offering only $US1.6 billion in general border-security funds. A vote in the House was expected Thursday.

The president has long grumbled about funding fights, including calling for a “good” government shutdown.

If Trump were to veto the bill, the federal government would almost certainly enter a partial shutdown at the end of Friday. Congressional research has found that in the event of a shutdown, 800,000 federal employees would be furloughed – temporarily laid off – or forced to work without pay.

Given the risks and potential political disaster of forcing a shutdown just days before Christmas, Trump appeared to support the CR on Wednesday. But he has received mounting pressure from conservatives and other allies.

This funding fight is more consequential for Trump than previous confrontations because the incoming Democratic majority in the House means there will be almost zero chance of getting border-wall funding in the next two years. Trump threatened on Thursday to stymie all legislation from Democrats if they do not provide funding for a wall.

“The Democrats, who know Steel Slats (Wall) are necessary for Border Security, are putting politics over Country,” he tweeted. “What they are just beginning to realise is that I will not sign any of their legislation, including infrastructure, unless it has perfect Border Security. U.S.A. WINS!”

Several hardline conservatives have called for the president to veto the CR. Members of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus used a series of speeches on Wednesday to plead with Trump to veto the bill.

“If you veto this bill, we’ll be there – more importantly, the American people will be there,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, the chair of the Freedom Caucus. “They will be there to support you. Let’s build the wall and make sure we do our job in Congress.”

In addition, many pro-Trump media members, including Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, called on the president to veto the bill.

Trump signed the omnibus bill in March after threatening to veto it because of its lack of border-wall funding. At the signing ceremony, the president warned that it would be the last major funding bill without it that he would sign.

“But I say to Congress: I will never sign another bill like this again. I’m not going to do it again,” Trump said at the time.

Stocks were decisively in the red on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling a bit more than 600 points, or 2.5%, as of 2:20 p.m. ET, and the S&P 500 down 56 points, or 2.2%. The moves came after the Federal Reserve’s latest interest-rate hike and the news of the possible shutdown.

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