Trump pushes wall funding in spending dispute with Democrats

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York takes a question during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. President Donald Trump could avert the risk of a government shutdown next weekend by stepp

Mr. Trump and top administration officials previously indicated the president wanted to include money to begin building a wall along the southern border in the bill to keep the government running after its current funding expires at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, which is also the president's 100th day in office. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the minority leader, said the trade-off idea was a "complete non-starter". "Now the bipartisan and bicameral negotiators can continue working on the outstanding issues", he said.

Congress has until the end of the week to pass a spending bill that funds the federal government.

The fight this time comes as the White House is eager to show off Trump's accomplishments at the 100-day mark.

ABC, CBS and NBC also made sure to harp on the USA being likely to pay for the wall instead of Mexico, as Trump had promised during his campaign.

"The Wall is a very important tool in stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth (and many others)!" Trump tweeted on Monday, adding that "if the wall is not built, which it will be, the drug situation will NEVER be fixed the way it should be".

USA government funding expires this coming Friday, with the government now being funded by a continuing resolution passed in December 2016. The bill would require 60 votes to clear the Senate, where Republicans only hold 52 seats, meaning at least some Democrats would need to join them presumably to avoid a shutdown.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Trump's campaign promise to build the wall didn't include paying for it by taking "food out of the mouths of babies" and cutting other programs.

The White House is expected to address another Trump campaign promise this week with a Wednesday announcement on tax reform that Mulvaney said would offer "governing principles, some guidance, also some indication of what the rates will be".

"Congress can find a host of ways to pay for this wall", Sessions said.

In the last week of the administration's first 100 days, President Donald Trump and his overworked White House staff are sprinting furiously to hit the historic milestone on a high note - even as the threat of a government shutdown looms.




It is unclear whether Mr Trump would sign a deal that did not include money for the wall.

"The president has made very clear that he's got two priorities in this continuing resolution: number one, the increase in funding for the military and number two, for our homeland security and the wall", Spicer told reporters.

The escalated push to get Trump's priorities, which Democrats reject, into spending legislation could jeopardize prospects for an agreement to keep the government open.

On Sunday, Mick Mulvaney the Director of the Office of Management and Budget told Fox News that the government would not shut down and an agreement could happen "as early as today".

"There is a risk of a partial federal shutdown, but we believe the risk is fairly low next week, rising slightly if the debate is pushed into May, and rising further still later this year", Phillips said.

The spectre of a government shutdown often looms over U.S. budget negotiations.

On Obama's health law, Priebus said he'd like to have a vote on the GOP repeal-and-replace bill in the House this week.

Spicer added, "We feel very confident the government's not going to shut down".

Sessions said the construction of the wall would be "the end of illegality" and charged that Democrats would be exclusively responsible in the event of a government shutdown on Saturday due to a disagreement over the border barrier. Two House Republicans have floated a compromise that would enable states to waive requirements around pre-existing conditions, a component of the Affordable Care Act that Republicans promised would not be touched in any repeal of Obamacare. But the Mexican government is adamant it will not provide any financing and Trump has not laid out a plan to compel Mexico to pay.

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