Pushing the government to the brink of a partial shutdown, the White House is insisting that Congress provide $5 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border despite lawmaker resistance from both parties.
Without a resolution, parts of the federal government will shut down at midnight Friday.
“We’re going to do whatever is necessary to build the border wall to stop this ongoing crisis of illegal immigration,” White House senior adviser Stephen Miller said Sunday.
Asked if that meant having a government shutdown, he said: “If it comes to it, absolutely.”
President Donald Trump said last week he would be “proud” to have a shutdown to get Congress to approve a $5 billion down payment to fulfil his campaign promise to build a border wall. But the president doesn’t have the votes from the Republican-controlled Congress to support funding for the wall at that level.
Both major political parties in Congress have suggested that Trump would likely need to make the next move to resolve the impasse. The House is taking an extended weekend break, returning Wednesday night. The Senate returns Monday after a three-day absence.
The Democratic congressional leaders, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, have proposed no more than $1.6 billion, as outlined in a bipartisan Senate bill. The money would not go for the wall but for fencing upgrades and other border security. Democrats also offered to simply keep funding at its current level, $1.3 billion.
Showing no signs of budging, Schumer said Sunday that it was up to Trump to decide whether the federal government will partially shut down, sending thousands of federal employees home without pay during the holidays.
About one-quarter of the government would be affected, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks.
“He is not going to get the wall in any form,” Schumer said.
Trump had neither accepted nor rejected the Democrats’ proposal as of Friday, according to the Democrats, telling them he would take a look. Trump will need Democratic votes either way, now or in the new year, for passage.
Trump, during his 2016 presidential campaign, promised that Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexico refused.