Trump threat­ens to shut down gov­ern­ment over bor­der wall

The Province - - NEWS - PHILIP RUCKER, ROBERT COSTA AND DAMIAN PALETTA

BRIDGE­WA­TER, N.J. — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump threat­ened Sun­day to shut down the fed­eral gov­ern­ment this fall if Congress does not pass sweep­ing changes to im­mi­gra­tion laws, in­clud­ing ap­pro­pri­at­ing more pub­lic money to build his long-promised bor­der wall.

“I would be will­ing to ‘shut down’ gov­ern­ment if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Bor­der Se­cu­rity, which in­cludes the Wall!” Trump tweeted. “Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Re­lease etc. and fi­nally go to sys­tem of Im­mi­gra­tion based on MERIT! We need great peo­ple com­ing into our Coun­try!”

Trump’s shut­down warn­ing — which he has made be­fore — es­ca­lates the stakes ahead of a Sept. 30 gov­ern­ment fund­ing dead­line, a po­lit­i­cal show­down be­fore the Novem­ber midterm elec­tions that Re­pub­li­can con­gres­sional lead­ers had hoped to avoid. A fund­ing fight also could prove a dis­trac­tion from Re­pub­li­can ef­forts in the Se­nate to con­firm Trump Supreme Court nom­i­nee Brett Ka­vanaugh by Oct. 1.

Trump faced words of caution from top Repub­li­cans, in­clud­ing Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio, who leads the Na­tional Re­pub­li­can Con­gres­sional Com­mit­tee, which co-or­di­nates cam­paign ef­forts for House Re­pub­li­can can­di­dates.

“I don’t think we’re go­ing to shut down the gov­ern­ment. You know, I think we’re go­ing to make sure we keep the gov­ern­ment open, but we’re go­ing to get bet­ter poli­cies on im­mi­gra­tion,” Stivers said on ABC News’ This Week.

Sen. Ron John­son, R-Wis., chair­man of the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Home­land Se­cu­rity and Gov­ern­men­tal Af­fairs, told CBS News’ Face the Na­tion that he sup­ports the pres­i­dent’s ef­fort to pass con­ser­va­tive im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies but dis­agreed with his brinkman­ship.

“I don’t like play­ing shut­down pol­i­tics. I don’t think it’d be help­ful, so let’s try to avoid it,” John­son said.

Rep. Ben Ray Lu­ján of New Mex­ico, chair­man of the Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee, said Democrats did not feel com­pelled to re­spond to Trump’s threat.

“Democrats wants to work to­gether in a bi­par­ti­san way when it comes to com­pre­hen­sive im­mi­gra­tion re­form,” Lu­ján said on ABC News, adding that “Democrats are stand­ing strong when it comes to a com­pre­hen­sive im­mi­gra­tion re­form con­ver­sa­tion with the Amer­i­can peo­ple that is fair, that is tough.”

Trump’s dec­la­ra­tion on Twit­ter sur­prised some law­mak­ers who have been ea­ger to avoid a bruis­ing fund­ing fight and high­lighted his in­tense de­sire to make progress on sig­na­ture agenda items that have stalled.

The pres­i­dent has not re­ceived from Congress as much fund­ing as he has re­quested for his pro­posed wall along the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der. Trump also has been ad­vo­cat­ing a num­ber of changes to im­mi­gra­tion laws.

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