WASHINGTON – United States President Donald Trump said on Saturday that he would welcome a government shutdown if Congress does not approve funding for a wall on the US-Mexico border.
Trump made those remarks to reporters before traveling to Northern California to get a first-hand look at the wildfires that have claimed 74 lives and left more than 1,000 missing.
“We’re talking about border wall, we’re talking about quite a big sum of money, about $5 billion,” the head of state said.
“I think probably, if I was ever going to do a shutdown over border security, when you look at the caravans, when you look at the mess, when you look at the people coming in, this would be a very good time to do a shutdown.”
Trump said, however, that he did not think that would be needed and that he could get support for a wall from the opposition Democratic Party.
“I don’t think it’s going to be necessary, because I think the Democrats will come to their senses, and if they don’t come to their senses, we will continue to win elections,” he said, noting that the GOP kept its majority in the Senate in the Nov. 6 legislative balloting.
The Democrats, however, won back control of the House of Representatives from the Republicans in that mid-term vote.
Trump’s legislative allies are expected to include funds for a border wall in the remaining appropriations bills that the lame-duck Congress must approve by a Dec. 7 deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, has said repeatedly that he would like to secure approval for $5 billion in wall-related appropriations.
But Democrats, whose support is needed because appropriations bills require 60 votes in the 100-seat Senate and Republicans have a slim 51-49 majority, have said they will only accept $1.6 billion in additional funding.
A total of $1.6 billion in funding for the border wall, Trump’s signature campaign promise, was approved in July 2017 as part of a $658 defense spending bill.
The new Congress will convene on Jan. 3.