Tuesday, in public, President Donald Trump threatened to shut down the government if Congress does not provide the money he says is needed to build ‘The Wall” at the Mexican border.
President Trump’s comments came as he opened a Oval Office meeting with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, with partial shutdown looming on 21 December when funding for some agencies will expire.
The President and Mrs. Pelosi tangled over whether the House or the Senate was holding up his proposal.
President Trump and Mr. Schumer fenced at each other over the import of the midterm elections, and who will be blamed if a shutdown occurs.
“If we don’t get what we want, one way or the other, whether it’s through you, through military, through anything you want to call, I will shut down the government,” President Trump declared. “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.”
The nationally televised discussion was President Trump’s 1st encounter with the Democrats since their midterm victories in the House.
It offered a seldom seen public preview of how government might work over the next 2 years as the 2020 Presidential election nears.
After the public session the Democrats exited their private meeting with the President, issuing their threats and warnings.
“This Trump Shutdown, this temper tantrum that he seems to throw, will not get him his wall and will hurt a lot of people,” said Mr. Schumer.
The Oval Office meeting between President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the Democrats began with President Trump noting progress for bi-partisan criminal justice legislation in the Senate. But, then splintered as he mentioned his promised wall along the US-Mexico border.
Said President Trump smiled saying: “And then we have the easy 1, The Wall. That will be the easiest of all, what do you think Chuck?” Mr. Schumer shot back: “It’s called funding the government.”
When Mrs. Pelosi said he did not have that support in the House, President Trump interjected: “Nancy, I do.”
Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer have urged President Trump to support a measure that includes a 6 government funding bills largely agreed upon by lawmakers, along with a separate measure that funds the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through 30 September 2019. The homeland bill includes about $1.3-B for fencing and other security measures at the border.
If President Trump rejects that, Democrats are urging a continuing resolution that would fund all the remaining appropriations bills at current levels through 30 September 2019
“We gave the President 2 options that would keep the government open,” Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer said in a statement after the meeting. “It’s his choice to accept 1 of those options or shut the government down.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), said circumstances were “beginning to resemble a movie we’ve seen before,” noting that Democrats forced a brief shutdown in January in a dispute over immigration policies.
“It did not work out very well,” Senator McConnell said. “The reality is that the President’s request is entirely reasonable.”
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