Trump threatens another shutdown amid partisan budget row

12 Dec 18

US president Donald Trump has threatened a government shutdown over funding for his planned wall on the Mexican border in a budget row with Democrats.

He said he would be “proud” to shut down the government over border security, if lawmakers did not agree to include $5bn extra for border security and the wall, in a meeting last night.

If no agreement on a federal budget is reached, funding for some departments will run out at the end of next week.

Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives respectively, said they had agreed to extend funding for the Department of Homeland Security until September 2019. This includes some $1.3bn for fencing and other security measures at the border.

Trump said: “If we don’t get what we want, one way or the other, whether it’s through you, through military…I will shut down the government.

“And I am proud to shut down the government for border security. I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.”

Following the meeting, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the Democrats have “made clear they would rather keep the border open than the government open”.

If the budget decisions cannot be resolved, funding for a number of government departments will run out on 21 December, including justice, agriculture and homeland security. The remaining agencies of the federal government have been funded until 2019.

In the case of a shutdown, which last happened in January when the Democrats and Republicans were unable to agree on a spending bill, hundreds of government workers would stay home and not get paid.

Media reported earlier this week that the president is backing plans to request $750bn from Congress for defence spending next year.

Earlier this year Donald Trump asked his cabinet to come up with proposals to cut spending by their agencies by 5%, but suggested the military would be spared, Reuters reported.

According to media reports, Trump is seeking to increase the US defence budget while cutting spending at all other departments.

Reuters reported the president wanted to “accelerate the progress his administration has made in rebuilding the military”.

 

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