Trump weighs putting off government shutdown after Bush's death

Frederick Owens
December 6, 2018

Congress is expected to introduce a two-week temporary funding bill to avert a federal government shutdown this week over President Donald Trump's border wall as business in the Capitol comes to a standstill for ceremonies honoring former President George H.W. Bush. Bush, the nation's 41st president, died Friday at the age of 94.

Further, other conservatives and their staffers on Capitol Hill caution that such a close deadline to the Christmas holiday season may make securing Trump's $5 billion in border wall funding more hard as many rank-and-file members will feel more pressure to accept Republican leadership's proposal closer to Christmas.

Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he is willing to extend the deadline for funding the federal government to avoid a government shutdown.

On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, called on Trump to support a $1.6 billion border security compromise between Senate Republicans and Democrats, instead of the $5 billion figure Trump and House Republicans support.

The US president has recently reignited his demand for US taxpayer funding to build a wall at the US-Mexico border to keep out illegal US visa migrants.

President Donald Trump and George P. Bush's father, Jeb, engaged in a vitriolic primary rivalry during the 2016 campaign, and Trump has mocked and criticized the legacies of both Presidents Bush.

On Monday, the president again attacked Democrats for their aversion to his wall, saying on Twitter that the government "would save Billions of Dollars if the Democrats would give us the votes to build the Wall".

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Democrats have steadfastly opposed providing any more than $1.6 billion for border security, and they want no money allocated for a concrete wall on the southern border.

If Congress can't agree on border security or wall funding, one solution being considered by lawmakers is a measure to fund the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through the fiscal year.

"If they [congressional leaders] come to talk about an extension because of President Bush's passing, I would absolutely consider it and probably give it", Trump said. The White House is expecting that to be between seven and 14 days, said a White House official who was not authorized to speak publicly.

McConnell told reporters in Louisville on Saturday it's up to Trump "to do a deal with the Democrats".

The Senate Homeland Security appropriations bill, which was reported but never brought to the Senate floor, includes $1.6 billion for "approximately 65 miles of pedestrian fencing along the southwest border in the Rio Grande Valley Sector".

Without action by Congress, federal agencies including the Department of Agriculture, State Department and Department of Homeland Security would find themselves without any money to pay employees and administer programs through the fiscal year that ends next September 30. Federal funding for those expires at midnight on Friday.

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