Top Trump officials push border wall as government shutdown looms

President Trump and top administration officials emphasized the necessity of funding the president's proposed wall along the country's southern border on Sunday, as talk of a possible government shutdown ramps up.

Members of the president's administration said they expect the government to remain open — and are skeptical that lawmakers would shut down the government over the proposed construction.

Trump administration officials and GOP lawmakers warned of the consequences of a government shutdown — even as Democrats have come out strongly against passing a bill that would allot funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsBudowsky: Senate must protect Mueller from Barr, President Trump Feinstein grappling with vote on AG nominee Barr Central American women fleeing domestic violence deserve refugee status MORE on Sunday led the Sunday show charge, expressing confidence the border wall would be funded.

"I can't imagine the Democrats would shut down the government over an objection to building a down payment on a wall that can end the lawlessness," Sessions said on ABC's "This Week."

He said he doesn't expect the Mexican government to "appropriate money" for the wall, but added there are ways "we can deal with our trade situation to create the revenue to pay for it."

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"We're going to get it paid for one way or the other," Sessions said on ABC's "This Week" when asked if there is any evidence Mexico will pay for the wall as Trump promised on the campaign trail.

Sessions said the administration's goal is to put an end to illegality and "create a lawful system of immigration where people apply to come here, they wait their turn."

Building a wall along the country's southern border will help the president to fulfill his promise to the American people, he said.
 
"That's what they want," he said. "And I believe Congress will eventually deliver."
 
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said the president will likely be "insistent" that an upcoming spending bill includes funding for his wall.

"I think it goes without saying that the president has been pretty straightforward about his desire and the need for a border wall," Kelly said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"So I would suspect — he'll do the right thing for sure — but I suspect he will be insistent on the funding."

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said he thinks the government can avoid a shutdown and expressed confidence a bill that is "satisfactory" to the president will pass. 

Progress has already been made "in regard to getting money for border security," he said on NBC's "Meet The Press."

"So I'm pretty confident we're going to get something that's satisfactory to the president," he said, when asked if President Trump will veto the government funding bill if there is no down payment on his proposed border wall included. 

"It'll be enough in the negotiation for us to move forward with either the construction or the planning or — enough for us to move forward through the end of September to get going on the border wall and border security."
 
Priebus was further pressed on whether the administration would support the funding bill if money isn't designated specifically for the border wall, but instead for border security more broadly. 

"I think that as long as the president's priorities are adequately reflected ... and there's enough as far as flexibility for the border wall and border security, I think we'll be OK with that."

“The last thing we can afford is to send a message to the world that the United States government, by the way, is only partially functioning,” Rubio told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“I mean, that would just have catastrophic impact, in my view, or certainly very destabilizing, I should say, impact on global affairs. And so we should keep that in mind going into this week.”

The Florida Republican said it's important to discuss the funding for the border wall, but emphasized that the country cannot afford a government shutdown right now. The government will run out of funds at the end of the coming week without action from Congress, a date that coincides with Trump's 100th day in office. 
 
"I think that's a fight worth having and a conversation and a debate worth having for 2018," Rubio said. "And if we can do some of that now, that'd be great. But we cannot shut down the government right now."
 
Democrats have voiced strong opposition to using the government funding vehicle to begin construction of the wall along the southern border, something the president has continually said the country needs to ensure safety.
 
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the proposed wall "immoral, expensive, unwise" on Sunday. 

"The president talks about how tall it is, who's going to pay for it and all the rest of that, but you have to understand this part of the country. There's a community with the border going through it," she said during an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press."

"The president, I think, talking about this wall, is expressing a sign of weakness. He's saying, 'I can't control our borders. I have to build a wall.'"

Although the House minority leader said the government needs to control the country's borders, she said building a wall is "not an answer."
 
"Not here, or any place," she said.
 
Republicans have the votes to keep the government open, she said, and so the "burden" falls on the GOP to keep it running.
 
 
“That would be the height of irresponsibility,” Durbin said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
 
He said the president doesn't want a shutdown to "define" his first 100 days in office.
 
The government will shut down at midnight on April 28 if Congress cannot agree on a spending bill.
 
Congress needs to pass legislation to continue funding the government to avoid the shutdown, but Democrats and some Republicans have voiced strong opposition to using the spending bill as a vehicle to begin funding the border wall.
 
Democrats are also demanding the spending bill include funding for ObamaCare's cost-sharing program, which helps low-income people pay healthcare costs.

Lawmakers can avoid a government shutdown if they pass a short-term spending measure to keep the government open while negotiations continue over a broader funding deal and other hot-button issues.

Trump's budget director Mick Mulvaney on Friday suggested that for every $1 of funding for the ObamaCare program, Democrats should agree to $1 of funding for Trump's border wall. But so far, Democrats have rebuffed the offer.

The president on Sunday criticized Democrats, saying they don't want money going to the wall even though it will "stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members."

He also expressed confidence he would fulfill his campaign promise to have Mexico pay for the structure.

"Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early," he tweeted, "Mexico will be paying in some form, for the badly needed border wall."