Congress aims for short government funding bill; no border wall

Congress aims for short government funding bill; no border wall

Congress aims for short government funding bill; no border wall

U.S. President Donald Trump will not sign legislation to fund the federal government that passed the U.S. Senate, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters after a meeting with the president on Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, speaking on the Senate floor, accused Democrats of acting out of "political spite" and being inflexible over border wall spending even as the White House was signaling some willingness to compromise.

The House had been set to vote on the bill on Thursday, before a deadline at midnight on Friday to fund parts of the government or risk a partial shutdown just before Christmas.

Former Trump campaign adviser Barry Bennett said it was too soon to panic.

One more point to clarify: Schumer in January 2018 said he offered to back funding for Trump's border wall in exchange for a broader immigration package that included a deal for so-called Dreamers, young immigrants living in the country illegally. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise later said the House aims to add $5 billion in wall money, as well as disaster relief funding, to the Senate-passed measure, according to Reuters.

Should a short-term resolution be reached, the border funding fight would be punted to the new year and the next Congress, which could prove even more hard for Trump with a Democratic-led House.

Schumer's office insisted a border fence is very different from Trump's promised wall.

Trump has not yet said he will support the measure as it does not include any funding for the U.S.

It would be a stretch to say the fencing Schumer supported in 2013 fits the same description as Trump's "impenetrable, physical, tall, power, handsome southern border wall", with "precasts going up probably 35 to 40 feet in the air".

The White House says President Donald Trump is meeting with Republican House members at noon Thursday as the fate of legislation to avoid a government shutdown hangs in the balance.

As President Trump seeks $5 billion for a border wall, Democrats put the border security cap at $1.3 billion with no funds going toward a concrete wall.

Paul Ryan leaving the White House after being informed of Mr Trump's decision
Credit
Bloomberg
Paul Ryan leaving the White House after being informed of Mr Trump's decision Credit Bloomberg

A partial shutdown would hit agencies including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the departments of Homeland Security, Treasury, Justice and Interior. "The president informed us that he will not sign the bill that came up from the Senate last evening because of his legitimate concerns for border security".

The House will now take up the measure, and leaders from both parties have signalled support.

Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, said he and other senators at the sparsely attended GOP lunch found out Trump wouldn't sign the bill when someone read aloud a tweet with the news.

"He has a responsibility to keep the government moving forward, and has a responsibility to get border security".

Passage in the House would send the legislation to the White House.

Meantime, Trump administration officials were looking for ways to build the wall, which the president initially had pledged Mexico would pay for, by reassigning money already doled out to USA agencies for other projects.

"I will not surrender this nation to the whims of criminal organizations who prey on the vulnerable [and] spread human misery and suffering", Trump said.

The bill, which was approved by the US Senate late Wednesday, was expected to keep the government funded and open for business through February 8, 2019.

"Democrats earlier proposed keeping funding at $1.3 billion for border security fencing and other improvements, but not for the wall".

On Twitter, the President made clear his disappointment with the lack of funding for his border wall. "The President is continuing to weigh his options", administration spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

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