WASHINGTON, US.- President Donald Trump said Monday he would have “no problem” shutting down the federal government this year if congressional lawmakers don’t agree to provide additional border security funding.
Trump’s suggestion puts him at odds with members of his own party in Congress, where many Republicans are facing tough reelection fights this November. Government funding expires at the end of September, just weeks before the midterm elections.
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“I would have no problem doing a shutdown,” Trump said during a joint press conference at the White House with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. “It’s time we had border security.”
Asked about specific requirements, he said he had no “red line.” “I’ll always leave room for negotiation,” Trump said. His comments echoed his unexpected tweet a day earlier that “I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!”
“Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT!” he tweeted. Trump returned to the idea after a meeting at the White House last week with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., where they were said to have agreed on the way forward on government funding for the budget year that starts Oct. 1.
McConnell told a radio interviewer last week that a shutdown so close to the Nov. 6 midterm elections won’t happen. McConnell acknowledged, however, that the border funding issue in particular was unlikely to be resolved before the balloting.