Trump raises stakes on government shutdown, demands border wall funds in spending bill

The Washington Times | 4/20/2017 | Staff
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The White House said Thursday that it wants to see money for President Trump’s border wall included in the spending bill Congress must pass next week — a demand Democrats said sours negotiations and makes a government shutdown more likely.

The demands mark a reversal for the administration, which had been saying it found enough money to build prototypes this year and wouldn’t need a major infusion of cash until next year.

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But White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday that the wall and the money for more immigration agents are priorities.

“We know there are a lot of people on the Hill, especially in the Democratic Party, who don’t like the wall, but they lost the election. And the president should, I think, at least have the opportunity to fund one of his highest priorities in the first funding bill under his administration,” Mr. Mulvaney said.

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The White House issued its demand just days after Democrats insisted that the spending bill include billions of dollars to prop up Obamacare. Democratic aides signaled that they wouldn’t accept a bill without the cost-sharing payments intended to keep insurers invested in the health care law.

With Mr. Mulvaney’s demand, both sides now appear to be entrenching.

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“Everything had been moving smoothly until the administration moved in with a heavy hand,” said Matt House, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat. “Not only are Democrats opposed to the wall, there is significant Republican opposition as well.”

Congress is once again on the clock, racing an April 28 deadline for passing a funding bill to last the rest of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Without a bill, the government would face a partial shutdown ending nonessential services.

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The Trump White House will begin issuing plans to...
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