Trump keeps up pressure on Dems over border wall

Jacquelyn Martin  AP

Jacquelyn Martin AP

As the country mourns the death of former President George H.W. Bush, Congress is seeking to push back the December 7 budget deadline, which would temporarily stall a contentious debate over border wall funding and likely delay a partial government shutdown. Bush, the nation's 41st president, died Friday at the age of 94.

The latest report suggests that congressional leaders, including Republican leaders, will propose and soon vote on a two-week stopgap funding bill that will fund the government through December 21; conservatives worry that such a tight deadline before Christmas will make it hard to secure $5 billion in border wall funding.

Sen. Charles Schumer of NY and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the two Democratic leaders, also asked the president to postpone a scheduled meeting today that would have touched upon the spending debate, according to a Democratic aide.

Trump has so far demanded funding for increased security at the U.S. -Mexico border, which would include a wall that he vowed to construct during his presidential campaign.

Conservative Republicans say that with the Democrats taking over the House in January, now could be their last chance to secure border wall money for Mr. Trump.

Trump claimed in a tweet that "We would save Billions of Dollars if the Democrats would give us the votes to build the Wall".

A person familiar with the arrangements said the Bush team and Trump White House have been in close contact in planning an eventual funeral for the elder President Bush for months, marking a departure from what has been a long-running feud between President Trump and the Bush family.

While Democrats prefer a one-week extension, they likely would not object to a two-week delay, a Democratic aide said Monday.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, predicted that Democrats would be blamed for any shutdown, though Trump has repeatedly threatened to shut down the government over wall funding. Six of the seven appropriations bills are ready to go, Politico said, with funding for the border remaining as the last hurdle to clear.

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, called the wall "a 14th-century solution to a 21st-century problem" and suggested that money would be better spent on more Border Patrol officers, technology and equipment.

McConnell told reporters over the weekend that it's up to Trump "to do a deal with the Democrats". He has said he is willing to endure a partial government shutdown if Congress fails to provide for border security in a spending bill. The current spending agreement expires on Friday.

Congress has already passed full-year funding for most other federal agencies, meaning they would remain open.

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