Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly says President Trump is likely to be "insistent" that any upcoming spending bill includes funding for his proposed border wall, foreshadowing a possible showdown with lawmakers as a government shutdown looms.
"I think it goes without saying that the president has been pretty straightforward about his desire and the need for a border wall," Kelly told CNN's Dana Bash. "So I would suspect — he'll do the right thing for sure — but I suspect he will be insistent on the funding."
Congress must send Trump a government funding measure by midnight on Friday in order to keep the government running. But Democrats and some Republicans have expressed fierce opposition to using the spending bill to begin construction on a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Meanwhile, Democrats are demanding that the spending bill include funding for ObamaCare's cost-sharing program, which helps low-income individuals pay healthcare costs. But Trump has signaled that he may deny such funding.
Trump's budget director Mick Mulvaney on Friday suggested a sort of tradeoff with Democrats: For every dollar of funding for the ObamaCare program, Democrats must agree to a dollar of funding for Trump's border wall.
But Democrats have so far rebuffed that offer, with a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) on Friday accusing the White House of holding healthcare "hostage."
Some lawmakers have urged the White House to hold off on its border wall funding request, but Kelly's comments suggest that Trump could insist on the spending, increasing the potential for an extended fight with lawmakers and a government shutdown.