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: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 820011

Reported Deaths: 15407
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1148361924
Mobile726091339
Madison52337697
Shelby37622350
Baldwin37258552
Tuscaloosa35117612
Montgomery34116740
Lee23536246
Calhoun22232488
Morgan20952378
Etowah19834500
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Houston17390412
St. Clair16064339
Cullman15454293
Limestone15349199
Elmore15264286
Lauderdale14314295
Talladega13842283
DeKalb12662261
Walker11206370
Blount10197176
Autauga10047148
Jackson9874184
Coffee9211191
Dale8900185
Colbert8871201
Tallapoosa7089198
Escambia6775134
Covington6713183
Chilton6645162
Russell637059
Franklin5962105
Chambers5610142
Marion5007127
Dallas4975200
Pike4796106
Clarke475784
Geneva4574127
Winston4519103
Lawrence4324117
Bibb425286
Barbour357876
Marengo338390
Monroe331564
Randolph329764
Butler326496
Pickens316384
Henry312766
Hale311688
Cherokee302860
Fayette294180
Washington251651
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245275
Clay243368
Macon234863
Lamar224447
Conecuh186253
Coosa180240
Lowndes175364
Wilcox168939
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