The showdown in Washington D.C. continues and lawmakers only have one more week to strike a deal before the government runs out of funding on December 7, forcing a partial shutdown. The negotiation process is proceeding, albeit at a snail’s pace as opposing sides have shown an unwillingness to make any concessions.
President Trump has said he would not sign any funding bill that does not give him $5 billion for border wall funding.
Democrat lawmakers in the House said they are only willing to provide $1.6 billion for the border. The figure comes from a bipartisan approved bill in the Senate, the Washington Examiner reports.
Republican leadership, despite having a majority, is looking how to work a deal that garners Democrat support and meets Trump’s demand.
That’s setting up the possibility of a partial government shutdown, since several agencies won’t have funding past Dec. 7 without a new spending bill.
But Congress hasn’t gotten anywhere so far. “No developments that I know of,” Senate Majority Leader John Cornyn, R-Texas, said when asked whether talks had progressed in any way.
Republicans are kicking around a few ideas, but it’s not clear they’d be enough to win the support of both Senate Democrats and Trump.
Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer has repeatedly refuted the idea of conceding to Trump’s $5 billion demand. Instead, Schumer said Trump and Republicans’ only option is to approve the existing bill. The New York senator has also emphasized that the $1.6 billion in the existing bill is for border security, not for the construction of a new border wall.
“Our position has been clear from the beginning: Ds & Rs have a months-old agreement in the Senate. $1.6B for border security, NOT a concrete wall or increases in detention beds or ICE agents. We should stick to this agreement. If POTUS interferes, he is responsible for a shutdown,” Schumer tweeted last week.
Schumer has also tried to blame Trump and Republicans for a potential shutdown.
In another tweet, Schumer said, “There are two good, bipartisan options on the table for the president to avoid a shutdown. @realDonaldTrump is the only reason there would be a shutdown.”
As the Hill reports, Trump will meet with Schumer and House Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, when congressional members come back to Washington D.C.
The topic of the meeting isn’t set but will likely include how to meet a Dec. 7 deadline to fund key parts of the government, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), amid an entrenched fight over Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Congress missed the Sept. 30 deadline, the end of the 2018 fiscal year, for seven of the 12 individual appropriations bills, kicking the fight until early December. Trump met last month with both Senate and House GOP leadership to discuss the year-end agenda, including government funding.
Both sides are stepping up their posturing as they barrel toward the Friday deadline.
As the migrant caravan looming at the border and with their recent attempt in crossing it, the president is probably not going to concede his $5 billion demand.
Meghan Burris, an Office of Management and Budget spokesperson, said the importance of funding the Department of Homeland security and the border wall should supersede the political games of Democrats.
“Democrats would rather shut the government down and leave millions of Americans less secure than work with the Administration to solve this unchecked crisis. It is evident there is a need to secure the Nation’s borders and the President has made it clear that is his number one priority,” she said, via the Hill.
President Trump, however, reportedly hinted at approving a stop-gap, 2-week continuing resolution amid the death of former President George H.W. Bush.
Democrats will have a majority in the House of Representatives come January, so should Trump and Republicans be unsuccessful in their attempt to fund the government, they will have to try again with a smaller chance to obtain border wall funding.