Border Wall May Shut Down Government After All

Trump toughens his stance, says he will not sign a spending bill without funding for one
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2018 1:28 PM CST
Chances of Shutdown Just Rose by a Lot
President Trump points at a member of the audience while speaking the 2018 Project Safe Neighborhoods National Conference at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

A government shutdown is suddenly in the cards again. After the Senate appeared to lessen the risk of one by passing a temporary funding bill, the measure ran into a brick wall in the House. President Trump and Republicans are again demanding that any legislation include $5 billion to build a border wall, and the president delivered the message in person during a meeting with House GOP leaders Thursday. “The president informed us he will not sign the bill that came from the Senate last evening because of his legitimate concerns for border security,” Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters. “So what we're going to do is go back to the House and work with our members.” The details:

  • One day left: The president's move "dramatically" increases the chances that a partial government shutdown will begin at the end of Friday, reports the Washington Post. And Politico uses the same word. The Senate bill would have provided funding into February.
  • The statement: “We protect nations all over the world, but Democrats are unwilling to protect our nation,” said White House press chief Sarah Sanders after the Trump meeting. “We urgently need funding for border security and that includes a wall.”
  • The problem: If House GOP leaders bring a bill to the floor with $5 billion in wall funding, there's no guarantee it would pass, reports the Wall Street Journal. It would likely get the support of zero Democrats, and many lame-duck Republicans have been skipping votes. Even if it did pass the House, it would likely fail in the Senate, because spending bills need 60 votes and Republicans have only 51 seats.

  • Right-wing fury: After Trump signaled earlier this week that he would settle for less, conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus berated his stance, as did right-wing pundits. Among those coming down hard on Trump late Wednesday was Ann Coulter, with a column headlined "Gutless President in Wall-Less Country" at Breitbart. “On the basis of his self-interest alone, he must know that if he doesn’t build the wall, he has zero chance of being re-elected and a 100% chance of being utterly humiliated,” she wrote.
  • Trump's first hint: In a Thursday morning tweet, Trump gave the first hint of his intentions. "When I begrudgingly signed the Omnibus Bill, I was promised the Wall and Border Security by leadership," he wrote. "Would be done by end of year (NOW). It didn’t happen! We foolishly fight for Border Security for other countries - but not for our beloved U.S.A. Not good!"
  • If it happens: National parks will likely close, nine federal agencies will shutter, and more than 420,000 federal employees would have to work without pay. The New York Times has details on the ramifications of a shutdown.
(Trump says the wall will be good-looking.)

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