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 TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group 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about any deal that would fund the border wall in exchange for helping immigrants who lost protections when Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last year.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 ThuneNo. 2 GOP leader eyes Wednesday of next week for possible votes on witnesses Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on Republicans take aim at Nadler for saying GOP senators complicit in 'cover-up' 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 McConnellCNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment Impeachment throws curveball in Iowa to sidelined senators MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbySenate fails to get deal to speed up fight over impeachment rules Roberts under pressure from both sides in witness fight GOP senator on Trump soliciting foreign interference: 'Those are just statements' 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 ErnstSchiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Grassley signs USMCA, sending it to Trump's desk Progressive group launches campaign targeting vulnerable GOP senators on impeachment 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 GardnerDemocrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment Senate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses Tensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum 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 CornynNadler gets under GOP's skin Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on Democrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public 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 HurdThe Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' House Democrats launch effort to register minority voters in key districts MORE (R-Texas) and Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarSenate removes 'white nationalist' from measure to screen military enlistees: report Hispanic Caucus dedicates Day of the Dead altar to migrants who died in US custody Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to testify on Libra | Extremists find home on Telegram app | Warren blasts Facebook for not removing anti-Biden ad | California outlaws facial recognition in police body cameras | China rips US tech sanctions 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 RyanThe Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power Social security emerges as latest flash point in Biden-Sanders tussle Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders for 'inability to actually fight with bad actors' in party MORE (R-Wis.) or incoming House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Cheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Mark Mellman: A failure of GOP leadership 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 SchumerVeronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats turn to obstruction charge Liberal super PAC to run digital ads slamming Trump over Medicare comments MORE (N.Y.) on Monday said Democrats will push to add language to protect special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay 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.