Eli Ridder | Report
U.S. President Donald Trump said he would not sign a funding bill on Thursday that would keep the government from triggering a partial shutdown at the end of this week.
In a proclamation that made a member of his own Republican Party ask if he was “ruining my life”, Mr. Trump told party leaders in the White House that he would not agree to the bill without the $5 billion US border wall funding he demands.
It’s an apparent switch from his view earlier in the day, when Trump had indicated his disappointment that the U.S. Senate bill did not include funding for the bill, but stopped short of saying he would veto the stopgap spending bill passed by the Senate Wednesday evening.
Many senators were apparently convinced the White House would accept the bill without border wall money because a majority of the lawmakers left for their home states as the legislation was passed on to the House of Representatives.
Trump wants to build a coast-to-coast border wall on the United States border with Mexico, a campaign promise that he says will significantly cut down on illegal immigration. Varied studies show this isn’t necessarily true, however.
Capitol Hill was caught off guard on Thursday afternoon when Trump announced he would veto any funding legislation that did not include border wall funding, threatening a partial shuttering of the government.
“We want to keep the government open but we also want to see an agreement that protects the border,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said on the White House driveway after meeting with Trump for more than an hour, Reuters reported.
Top House Republican, Steve Scalise, said that the Republican-controlled lower chamber would add border wall funding as an amendment to the Senate-passed bill, as well as disaster aid funds.
Amendments require a vote from the House, which could make timing tight as current funding ends at Friday midnight, as the amendments must first be approved in the Rules Committee.
A partial shutdown would not be disastrous, as all essential services would continue, but thousands of workers may have to continue without pay.
Trump has forced the U.S. government into a more drastic shutdown before, much to the chagrin of even his own party. However, some argue it is an effective business tactic familiar to the Trump “art-of-the-deal” style politics.
More details to follow. Image of Capitol Hill from previous files.