Trump says government shutdown 'could happen'

President Trump said Wednesday a government shutdown could happen and argued that Democrats should shoulder the blame if Congress fails to pass a funding bill.

"It could happen," Trump said when asked about the chances of a shutdown. “The Democrats are really looking at something that is very dangerous to our country. They are looking at shutting down.”

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump accused Democrats of impeding talks on a spending deal with demands on immigration.

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“They want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bringing with them crime. Tremendous amounts of crime,” the president said.

“We don’t have to have that. We want to have a great, beautiful, crime-free country. And we want people to coming into our country, but we want them to come on our basis."

Trump's warning came as lawmakers on Capitol Hill are scrambling to pass a funding measure before the Dec. 8 shutdown deadline.

The president is set to meet Thursday with Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow Kevin McCarthy sold his soul to Donald Trump On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Stopping the next insurrection MORE (R-Wis.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden stiff arms progressives on the Postal Service Biden clarifies any Russian movement into Ukraine 'is an invasion' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks, Senate balks MORE (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi says she's open to stock trading ban for Congress Manchin: Biden spending plan talks would start 'from scratch' Reps. Massie, Grijalva test positive for COVID-19 MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats calls on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Predictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure Voting rights and Senate wrongs MORE (D-N.Y.) to discuss a spending deal. 

Schumer and Pelosi pulled out of a White House meeting last week after Trump said "I don't see a deal."

Several high-profile Democrats have threatened to vote against a spending bill if Congress does not address immigrants who may lose their protections to live and work in the U.S. due to Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). 

Republican leaders have said they will not consider a DACA fix as part of a government funding package. 

The White House has called for tougher immigration controls and more border-security measures in return for relief for DACA recipients.

Democrats have rejected the notion they would shoulder blame for a shutdown, pointing out Republicans control both chambers of Congress and the White House.

With Democrats and Republicans at odds on a broader spending bill, lawmakers are working to pass a stopgap measure to keep the government open and buy more time for negotiations.

But that process has been stalled by complaints from conservative House Republicans over a funding strategy.

This report was updated at 12:38 p.m.