The White House is not pushing for a government shutdown if Congress fails to include funding for President Trump’s border wall in a spending measure.
A House GOP aide said White House officials and Republican leaders alike are content to punt the fight over the wall until after September despite remarks from the president threatening a shutdown over the issue.
“It seems like everyone is content putting off some big fights until December, particularly with Harvey funding being added to the docket in September,” a House GOP aide told The Hill, referring to Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Houston last week as a category 4 hurricane and has caused substantial damage to southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana.
The Washington Post earlier on Friday reported that the White House had signaled to congressional Republicans that it would not demand funding for the wall in a government-funding measure to be approved in September.
The government would shut down on Oct. 1 without a new funding measure. Congress is expected to pass a short-term measure and continue working on a longer appropriations package to be approved later this year.
It’s possible that while White House aides are saying they can live without the wall funding, Trump has a different view.
In a high-octane August rally in Phoenix, Trump told his supporters that he would ensure the wall was built.
“Believe me, if we have to close down our government, we're building that wall,” he said.
Trump has also come under pressure from conservative pundits to secure funding for the wall and to not put off the issue.
Yet the president has other fish to fry as well.
In September, the congressional agenda also includes a measure to raise the debt ceiling. Failure to pass that measure could cause havoc in markets, and Trump has enjoyed pointing to the rising stock market as a sign of confidence in his economic stewardship.
The Harvey aid is another big project for September that could be rolled into a larger package.
Finally, Trump is putting his shoulder into a tax reform effort as the White House seeks a big legislative achievement in the president’s first year in office.
Winning funding for the wall will be difficult no matter when the fight takes place.
While the House has included $1.6 billion to start building portions of the wall, the Senate has not, and it would require support from eight Democrats to overcome a filibuster.
A government shutdown in October seems less likely if Trump does not push for the funding resolution to include money for the wall and instead pushes the fight until December.