Trump torpedoes funding bill over border wall

A holiday government shutdown appeared more likely on Thursday after President Donald Trump informed House R...

Posted: Dec 21, 2018 6:21 AM
Updated: Dec 21, 2018 6:22 AM

A holiday government shutdown appeared more likely on Thursday after President Donald Trump informed House Republicans he would refuse to accept a stop-gap measure -- already passed by the Senate -- that doesn't include funds for his long-promised border wall.

What was once a deal to avoid a Christmas partial shutdown was torpedoed Thursday by conservatives and Trump, who unleashed fury at another agreement that stops short of providing the $5 billion the President has demanded for the border.

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It was a closing burst of wrath in the final days of the Republican-majority House. If Trump cannot secure the money he is demanding for the wall now, it's unlikely he will see a spending bill that meets his requirement for at least two years as Democrats assume control.

The uncertainty sent lawmakers scrambling to devise a solution that could keep funds flowing to some government agencies after Friday's deadline. It's not clear if there are enough votes in the House for a bill that would include the $5 billion in border wall funding; in the Senate, where any measure will require 60 votes to clear procedural hurdles, there are almost certainly not enough votes.

Stewing at the White House, Trump ranted on Twitter that he'd been down a similar road earlier this year, only to find himself again in the same position. His press secretary said he wouldn't move forward without the billions in funding for "steel slats or a wall."

He summoned House Republicans -- who thought they'd struck a deal to avert a shutdown -- for noontime talks at the White House.

"President Trump just met with Republican Members of the House. Not surprisingly, they all feel strongly about border security -- stopping the flow of drugs, stopping human trafficking and stopping terrorism. We protect nations all over the world, but Democrats are unwilling to protect our nation. We urgently need funding for border security and that includes a wall," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said following the White House meeting.

Stocks, already trading lower because of the Federal Reserve's Wednesday decision to raise its benchmark interest rate, were sharply down as the scramble in Washington appeared to be leading toward a shutdown.

The White House is following Office of Budget and Management guidelines on notifying federal employees whether they'll be furloughed in case of a government shutdown, a senior administration told CNN's Jim Acosta.

"Prudent management requires that agencies be prepared for the possibility of a lapse. OMB guidance states that two business days before a potential lapse, agencies need to notify employees of their work and pay status under a lapse -- that is, if they are furloughed or excepted. Agencies were directed by OMB to start that notification this morning," the official said.

The last-minute scramble came after several days of whiplash, which began last week when Trump said in a meeting with Democrats that he would be proud to oversee a shutdown if it meant securing funds for the wall.

Later, the White House signaled he was softening on that stance, indicating the President was open to a compromise that fell short of providing the $5 billion Trump is demanding.

That provided an opening for Republican lawmakers to begin proceedings on a measure that would provide funding for nine federal agencies through February. That bill passed the Senate on Wednesday evening.

But on Thursday morning, the future of that plan was thrust into question after Trump tweeted his frustration at having to swallow another spending measure that doesn't include funds for the wall.

State of play

The Senate-passed plan would have provided funding through February 8 -- after Democrats assume control of the House, making this Trump's last chance to secure wall funding.

"When I begrudgingly signed the Omnibus Bill, I was promised the Wall and Border Security by leadership. Would be done by end of year (NOW). It didn't happen!" he wrote after a phone conversation with House Speaker Paul Ryan. "We foolishly fight for Border Security for other countries - but not for our beloved U.S.A. Not good!"

Trump remained ambiguous Thursday on whether he will sign a measure temporarily funding the government in order to avoid a year-end shutdown, as he lamented a lack of funding for his desired border wall.

He is due to depart Friday afternoon for an extended holiday stay at his Mar-a-Lago estate in South Florida. The White House has refused to say whether he would still travel there if the shutdown occurs. Included in the federal agencies affected would be the Secret Service, whose agents and officers would still work to protect the President and his family, just on an unpaid basis.

A senior White House official told CNN Friday it's possible that Trump will decide not to back down on the wall fight as a result of growing pressure from the Freedom Caucus and conservatives.

The official said it's still unclear what Trump will do -- a similar situation to the omnibus signing last March.

"If Congress can't give the President border wall funding now with Republicans in charge we certainly don't stand a chance with (House Democratic Leader Nancy) Pelosi and the Dems taking over the House next year," the official said.

Mixed signals

The President has sent mixed signals for the past week on whether he would sign the legislation that would stave off a shutdown of some key federal agencies, set to expire at midnight on Friday, just days before Christmas.

"The Democrats, who know Steel Slats (Wall) are necessary for Border Security, are putting politics over Country. What they are just beginning to realize is that I will not sign any of their legislation, including infrastructure, unless it has perfect Border Security. U.S.A. WINS!" Trump tweeted Thursday, seeming to indicate he would pick up the border wall fight next year after Democrats take control of the House.

While the legislation, which passed the Senate Wednesday, is expected to pass the House before the end of the week, many conservatives are calling on the President to oppose the legislation and Trump is listening. But a House Republican leadership news conference was delayed Thursday morning as lawmakers debated how to proceed, lending even more uncertainty to how the issue would get resolved.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312608

Reported Deaths: 7221
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21429257
Hinds20256414
Harrison17776308
Rankin13539278
Jackson13395246
Madison10051217
Lee9956173
Jones8364163
Forrest7633152
Lauderdale7215240
Lowndes6359144
Lamar620286
Lafayette6162118
Washington5320133
Bolivar4796132
Oktibbeha460398
Panola4545104
Pearl River4495145
Marshall4387103
Warren4368120
Pontotoc419372
Monroe4089133
Union408776
Neshoba4028176
Lincoln3939110
Hancock376686
Leflore3484125
Sunflower335290
Tate331684
Pike3290105
Scott314873
Alcorn310768
Yazoo310269
Itawamba299377
Copiah295865
Coahoma293979
Simpson293788
Tippah287268
Prentiss278560
Marion268680
Leake264973
Wayne262241
Grenada259985
Adams259882
Covington256281
Newton246961
George246748
Winston226981
Tishomingo225067
Jasper220748
Attala214273
Chickasaw207057
Holmes188672
Clay184654
Stone181433
Clarke178179
Tallahatchie177840
Calhoun169532
Yalobusha162936
Smith162034
Walthall133745
Greene130233
Lawrence128223
Noxubee126834
Montgomery126742
Perry126038
Amite123442
Carroll121628
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104626
Claiborne102130
Benton99025
Humphreys96133
Kemper95628
Franklin83323
Quitman79616
Choctaw75818
Wilkinson66830
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 528784

Reported Deaths: 10913
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson762251516
Mobile40864804
Madison34569501
Tuscaloosa25646451
Montgomery24264585
Shelby23355246
Baldwin20993306
Lee15800168
Calhoun14457312
Morgan14250279
Etowah13796352
Marshall12166222
Houston10506280
Elmore10017205
Limestone9935150
Cullman9617193
St. Clair9584237
Lauderdale9397238
DeKalb8813185
Talladega8183175
Walker7205279
Autauga6910107
Jackson6793110
Blount6621135
Colbert6282134
Coffee5491115
Dale4810111
Russell437938
Chilton4244111
Franklin423882
Covington4105117
Tallapoosa4004150
Escambia392675
Chambers3545123
Dallas3536150
Clarke350360
Marion3092100
Pike309177
Lawrence299698
Winston273572
Bibb259763
Marengo248564
Geneva247075
Pickens233559
Barbour230256
Hale221776
Butler215469
Fayette211962
Henry188544
Cherokee183845
Randolph179241
Monroe176240
Washington166839
Macon158649
Clay153356
Crenshaw151657
Cleburne148341
Lamar141234
Lowndes138453
Wilcox126528
Bullock122941
Conecuh110028
Perry107526
Coosa106828
Sumter104132
Greene92234
Choctaw60324
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