WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump warned on Wednesday that a partial shutdown of the federal government “could happen” on Saturday, blaming Democrats for that possibility because of their unwillingness to agree to his stricter immigration demands.
Trump said that the shutdown could occur on the day after the Dec. 8 deadline for lawmakers to reach an agreement on funding the government.
Specifically, the president blamed the Democratic opposition for the potential shutdown, saying that “Democrats maybe will want to shut down this country because they want people flowing into our country.”
House Republicans have been trying to reach agreement on a stop-gap funding fill to provide for government expenses for another two weeks – until Dec. 22 – so that more time will become available to get consensus with Democrats.
Some Democratic lawmakers, however, have backed the idea of forcing a government shutdown if Republicans do not agree to approve a new law protecting the so-called Dreamers, young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children and who have enjoyed protection from deportation thanks to an executive order signed by former President Barack Obama.
The Republicans, meanwhile, are opposed to including any mention of the Dreamers, or beneficiaries under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, in the budget stop-gap measure.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said on Twitter in response to the president’s remarks that “President Trump is the only person talking about a government shutdown. Democrats are hopeful the President will be open to an agreement to address the urgent needs of the American people and keep government open.”