President Trump on Saturday kept the door open to a potential government shutdown if an upcoming deal to fund parts of the government does not include funding for a border wall.
“We’re talking about border wall, we’re talking about quite a big sum of money, about $5 billion,” the president told reporters Saturday before leaving the White House for a trip to California.
“This would be a very good time to do a shutdown. 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,” he added.
Trump has previously flirted with shutting down the government over funding for his proposed border wall, but Republicans convinced him not to do so before the midterms, saying it would hurt them at the polls.
The president’s latest comments come as he is negotiating with the Senate on a deal to partially fund the government.
Congress has until Dec. 7 to fund the rest of the government after lawmakers failed to approve seven of the 12 individual funding bills before the end of the fiscal year deadline.
“I would always tell anybody, including the president, it’s not a good idea to shut down the government, period,” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said earlier this week.
“I can’t tell you,” he added when asked if $5 billion is “doable.” The House’s Department of Homeland Security bill has $5 billion in border wall funding and the Senate has $1.6 billion. Though Democrats stress they want to secure the border, they’ve bristled at allowing a concrete structure or including more funding without a broader
The negotiations come as Trump takes a hard-line stance against a group of thousands of Central American migrants trekking toward the southern border seeking asylum. Trump has ordered around 5,800 troops to the border to bolster border enforcement and prevent entry.