Trump: Shutdown possible if Congress doesn’t pass border funds

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President Trump on Thursday doubled down on his threat to force a partial government shutdown if Congress doesn’t approve funding for border security.

“We’re in negotiation. If we don’t get border security, possible shutdown,” Trump told reporters at the White House. 

{mosads}Congress must pass legislation funding about 25 percent of the government by Dec. 7 in order to avoid shuttering a variety of federal agencies.

Trump has demanded $5 billion for increased security along the U.S.-Mexico border, but the request faces widespread opposition from Democrats.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said this week that Democrats don’t want to offer more than $1.6 billion on border security as part of a year-end spending deal, raising the specter of a potential shutdown over the issue.

In an interview with Politico published Wednesday, Trump said he would “totally be willing” to shutdown the government over funding for border security, calling the issue a “total winner.”

Trump suggested this week that he could keep U.S. troops stationed near the southwest border to lay razor wire and additional fencing if Congress does not provide his desired amount of funding. Troops were deployed to the border earlier this month, but the mission was set to expire in mid-December.  

“We need Democrat votes to have a wall,” Trump told The Washington Post. “Now, if we don’t get it, will I get it done another way? I might get it done another way. There are other potential ways that I can do it. You saw what we did with the military, with the barbed wire and the fencing, and various other things.”

Trump has made cracking down on illegal immigration a hallmark of his administration, and pledged during the 2016 campaign that Mexico would pay for a wall along the southern border.

The president has in recent weeks has seized on a caravan of Central American migrants making its way toward the U.S.-Mexico border, portraying the group as an imminent national security threat. He has in response directed thousands of troops be deployed to the southern border, threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border permanently and signed a proclamation preventing certain immigrants from claiming asylum.

Tensions escalated last weekend when U.S. border agents fired tear gas across the border after dozens of migrants attempted to illegally cross into the U.S., some of them throwing rocks at border agents.

Trump has defended the use of tear gas, despite sharp criticism from Democrats and immigration advocates.

Tags Charles Schumer Donald Trump

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