Government shutdown over wall funding would be a 'great campaign issue'

Frederick Owens
August 4, 2018

President Trump doubled-down on his signature campaign promise this week; telling Democrats he has "no problem" shutting down the federal government should they fail to fully fund his border wall.

"That makes sense for Republicans, because they don't want to have it out just before the election", Collender said, "but it doesn't make any sense for Trump".

Trump campaigned on the promise of building a wall to deter illegal immigration and making Mexico pay for it. Mexico has refused, leading Trump to look to USA taxpayers to fund the endeavor instead, at least for now.

Trump returned to the idea after a meeting at the White House last week with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and House speaker Paul Ryan, at which they reportedly agreed on the way forward on government funding for the budget year that starts on 1 October. The deadline for a shutdown looms at the end of September, but depending on the order in which lawmakers process appropriations bills GOP leadership could push the homeland security bill - and the border wall debate - until after midterms. "They don't agree on doing it before", Trump told Limbaugh in an interview after calling to congratulate him for 30 years on the air.

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"The days of plundering American jobs and American wealth - those days are over", Trump said. "It's time we had proper border security. I would certainly be willing to close it [the government] down to get it done".

"As far as the border is concerned, and personally, if we don't get border security, after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown", he said. "Border Security is National Security, and National Security is the long-term viability of our Country".

Democrats have long opposed financing Trump's wall but don't have enough votes by themselves to block House approval of that amount, but they do have the strength to derail legislation in the closely divided Senate. "None of us want to shut down the government", chairman of the Senate Appropriations committee, Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), told reporters on Monday. "There are a lot of things I'm unhappy about in this bill". However, the spending measure did not address immigration and Trump said at the time, "I will never sign another bill like this again". "There are a lot of things that we shouldn't have had in this bill", Trump said in March. The Senate bill in contrast, allots $1.6 billion for fencing in the Rio Grande Valley and border security technology.

The Senate wrote its Homeland Security funding bill to the original $1.6 billion level, while the House has allocated $5 billion in its version. The House adjourned for five weeks on Thursday while the Senate will only take one week off in August.

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