Border melee ups ante on shutdown

Border melee ups ante on shutdown
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Clashes between migrants and law enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border near Tijuana have created a new challenge for lawmakers hoping to placate President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassroots America shows the people support Donald Trump Trump speaks to rebel Libyan general attacking Tripoli Dem lawmaker: Mueller report shows 'substantial body of evidence' on obstruction MORE’s demands for a border wall and prevent a government shutdown.

Before border authorities turned to tear gas on Sunday to turn away migrants rushing the border, many lawmakers and aides on Capitol Hill thought Trump would likely sign funding legislation to prevent a shutdown, even if it represented a watered-down border security package.

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The ugliness on Sunday, Republicans say, is only likely to convince Trump to dig his heels in harder on more funding for the wall.

In a tweet on Monday, the president threatened to “close the Border permanently if need be” and demanded that lawmakers “fund the wall!”

Later, he defended the use of tear gas at the border and said members of the migrant caravan would not be allowed to enter the United States.

“They had to use [tear gas] because they were being rushed by some very tough people and they used tear gas,” Trump said. “And here’s the bottom line: nobody’s coming into our country unless they come in legally.”

Parts of the government will shut down on Dec. 8 if the president does not sign a new funding bill into law.

Fresh off their retaking of the House majority, Democrats feel they have the leverage to block Trump’s demands.

They are skeptical about any deal that would fund the border wall in exchange for helping immigrants who lost protections when Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last year. 

Senate Republican leaders say the clashes at the border have underscored the importance of Trump’s demands for a wall or “wall system.” 

“What it points to is the importance of having a wall system, whether that’s entirely a physical wall or a technological wall. That border security is an increasingly important issue,” said Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTelehealth is calling — will Congress pick up? GOP grows tired of being blindsided by Trump Hillicon Valley: Assange faces US charges after arrest | Trump says WikiLeaks 'not my thing' | Uber officially files to go public | Bezos challenges retail rivals on wages | Kremlin tightens its control over internet MORE (S.D.), the incoming Senate Republican whip. 

GOP leaders warn, however, that it will be difficult to secure the full $5 billion that Trump wants for the wall, which is less than the $25 billion originally estimated for the project. House legislation meets the $5 billion figure, but a Senate bill would provide $1.6 billion in funding.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Overnight Health Care: McConnell offering bill to raise tobacco-buying age to 21 | NC gov vetoes 'born alive' abortion bill | CMS backs off controversial abortion proposal HR 1 brings successful local, state reforms to the federal level and deserves passage MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig Shelby20 Dems demand no more money for ICE agents, Trump wall Conservatives urge Trump to stick with Moore for Fed Poll: Roy Moore leading Alabama GOP field MORE (R-Ala.) tried to steer Trump away from a possible shutdown during a White House meeting shortly before Thanksgiving. 

Senate Republicans see a shutdown over a border wall as a political liability in the next election cycle, when the Senate map will be more favorable for Democrats. 

Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay Ernst Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 GOP senators divided on Trump trade pushback Abrams: Schumer has been 'relentless but thoughtful' about Senate bid MORE (R-Iowa), who faces a potentially tough reelection in 2020, told CNN on Sunday that “I hope we can avoid shutting down the government.” 

Ernst is the newest member of the Senate GOP elected leadership for the next Congress.

Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerCain says he 'won't run away from criticism' in push for Fed seat Graham says he's 'not interested' in Mueller testifying Cain says he won't back down, wants to be nominated to Fed MORE (Colo.), another vulnerable GOP incumbent and the outgoing chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told reporters Monday: “I’m confident that we’ll put together a package that can receive bipartisan support.” 

“There’s no reason a shutdown needs to occur,” he added. 

At the same time, Republicans acknowledge a final deal will require buy-in from Trump.

Asked Monday if Senate leaders could accept a border security funding number below the $5 billion level set by the House, Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn Cornyn Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 Trump struggles to reshape Fed Congress opens door to fraught immigration talks MORE (Texas) said, “at this point it’s really kind of up to what the president would find acceptable.”

“Ultimately, he’s going to have to sign it and we’re not going to have a veto-proof majority,” he said. “So I think we’re better off trying to negotiate that with the president, and I think there’s some potential there.”

One proposal being floated is to attach to the year-end spending bill a version of the bipartisan House legislation sponsored by Reps. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdFreshman House Dems surge past GOP in money race DCCC opens Texas office to protect House pickups, target vulnerable GOP seats Dems ramp up subpoena threats MORE (R-Texas) and Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarPro-business Dem group sees boost in fundraising Left flexes muscle in immigration talks Immigration groups press for pairing Dreamer benefits with border security MORE (D-Calif.) that would protect DACA recipients from deportation in exchange for what they call “commonsense border security measures” such as enhanced technology, manpower and physical barriers where necessary at the border. 

Cornyn on Monday said the idea is under discussion but has yet to be approved by Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFEC filing: No individuals donated to indicted GOP rep this cycle The Hill's Morning Report - Waiting on Mueller: Answers come on Thursday Paul Ryan joins University of Notre Dame faculty MORE (R-Wis.) or incoming House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyWatchdog: Custodial staff alleged sexual harassment in lawmakers' offices John Legend, Chrissy Teigen lash out at Trump at Dem retreat Republicans call for ex-Trump lawyer Cohen to be referred to DOJ MORE (R-Calif.). 

“Congressman Hurd, who I was visiting with, said they were going to see if there was something that could be done using Hurd-Aguilar, but that was over in the House and that was just between him and me and it didn’t involve House leadership,” he said. 

Senate Democrats are pressing for other concessions in the year-end spending deal, which would include seven appropriations bills to fund about 25 percent of the government.  

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDem legal analyst says media 'overplayed' hand in Mueller coverage Former FBI official praises Barr for 'professional' press conference Pelosi: Barr press briefing a 'staggering partisan effort' MORE (N.Y.) on Monday said Democrats will push to add language to protect special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE from being fired without just cause to the must-pass spending bill if GOP leaders refused to schedule the protection bill for a stand-alone floor vote. 

Former House Republican Whip Tom DeLay (Texas) warned that the lame-duck session is the president’s best chance to get full funding for the wall, before Democrats take over control of the House in January.

“If the president wants the wall, he’s got to win this fight in the next few weeks because he’s not going to get any money for the wall for the next two years with the Democrats in control of the House,” he said in a CNN interview. “He’s got to lay down a marker, which he has done. If he has to shut down the government — only 25 percent of the government, by the way — then he’s got to make sure the Democrats understand that’s going to happen.”

Trump’s response to Sunday’s border clash has prompted outrage among Latino leaders.

“He’s using these refugees as a political piñata to get money for a wall he promised Mexico would pay for,” said Domingo Garcia, the national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens. “We’re sending a message to the world when you see women and children being teargassed and hit with rubber bullets only because they’re seeking asylum in the United States. It’s a sad, tragic situation we’re seeing.”

Jordain Carney contributed.