Trump: It’s ‘a very good time’ for a shut­down

Belleville News-Democrat (Sunday) - - News - BY DAVID J. LYNCH

Pres­i­dent Don­ald

Trump sug­gested Satur­day he was pre­pared to shut down the fed­eral govern­ment next month if Congress fails to give him the money he wants to build a wall along the U.S. bor­der with Mex­ico.

“If I was ever go­ing to do a shut­down over bor­der se­cu­rity – when you look at the car­a­van, when you look at the mess, when you look at the peo­ple com­ing in,” the pres­i­dent said. “... This would be a very good time to do a shut­down.”

The pres­i­dent has asked law­mak­ers for $5 bil­lion for new wall con­struc­tion in fis­cal 2019, but Democrats op­pose the project and a bi­par­ti­san Se­nate com­pro­mise ear­lier this year in­cluded just $1.6 bil­lion for it.

Dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign, Trump re­peat­edly promised vot­ers that Mex­ico would pay for the roughly 2,000-mile bar­rier, which car­ries an es­ti­mated price tag of $20 bil­lion. But since tak­ing of­fice, he has ac­knowl­edged that Amer­i­can tax­pay­ers will have to put up the cash.

Speak­ing to re­porters be­fore trav­el­ing to Cal­i­for­nia to tour re­cent wild­fire dev­as­ta­tion, Trump pre­dicted Democrats would stave off his shut­down threat by agree­ing to wall fund­ing.

“I don’t think it’s go­ing to be nec­es­sary, be­cause I think the Democrats will come to their senses. And if they don’t come to their senses, we will con­tinue to win elec­tions,” the pres­i­dent said, re­fer­ring to the Repub­li­cans’ suc­cess in adding to their Se­nate ma­jor­ity in con­gres­sional elec­tions ear­lier this month.

Fund­ing for the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity and sev­eral other agen­cies runs out on Dec. 7, mean­ing a par­tial govern­ment shut­down will oc­cur if a new spend­ing bill is not fi­nal­ized by then.

Most fed­eral de­part­ments, in­clud­ing the Pen­tagon, are funded through the cur­rent fis­cal year, which ends Sept. 30. But even a par­tial shut­down of other govern­ment ac­tiv­i­ties next month would mean dis­rupted ser­vices as well as un­paid fur­loughs for thou­sands of fed­eral work­ers amid the hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son.

“I don’t think a ma­jor­ity of the Amer­i­can peo­ple are look­ing for­ward to a shut­down right be­fore the hol­i­days,” said Jim Man­ley, a for­mer Demo­cratic Se­nate lead­er­ship aide.

The pres­i­dent’s will­ing­ness to shut­ter the govern­ment is not shared by Repub­li­can lead­ers on Capi­tol Hill. Se­nate Ma­jor- ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell of Ken­tucky said flatly last week, “No, we’re not go­ing to do that,” when asked about prospects for a shut­down over wall fund­ing.

Trump’s ad­vis­ers have warned him that he is un­likely to se­cure full wall fund­ing, ac­cord­ing to a per­son briefed on the con­fi­den­tial dis­cus­sions. Repub­li­can lead­ers per­suaded the pres­i­dent to avoid a show­down over the wall be­fore the midterm elec­tions, fear­ing that it would alien­ate swing vot­ers.

In a meet­ing with GOP lead­ers last week, the pres­i­dent was non­com­mit­tal about sign­ing a spend­ing bill that lacked full fund­ing for his sig­na­ture project, ac­cord­ing to Se­nate Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Chair­man Richard Shelby of Alabama.

JAC­QUE­LYN MARTIN AP

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump an­swers ques­tions from mem­bers of the me­dia Satur­day as he leaves the White House en route to see fire dam­age in Cal­i­for­nia.

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