Shutdown looms as Trump digs in on US$5 billion wall demand

Donald Trump

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During an interview on Fox News, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, "At the end of the day, we don't want to shut down the government, we want to shut down the border".

But the president doesn't have the votes from the Republican-controlled Congress to support funding for the wall at that level.

Pushing the government to the brink of a partial shutdown, the White House is insisting that Congress provide $5 billion to build a border wall despite lawmaker resistance from both parties.

"We are looking at existing funding through other agencies right now that we can draw on to do that immediately", Sanders said.

Last week, Trump said he would be "proud" to shut down the government if Democrats did not agree to his demands for $US5 billion to go toward building the wall along the US-Mexico border.

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Showing no signs of budging, Schumer said Sunday that it was up to Trump to decide whether the federal government would partially shut down, sending thousands of federal employees home without pay during the holidays. "We have a small army of volunteers who want to get every one of our cars into the hands of a child", Thacker said.

"I will take the mantle of shutting down, and I'm going to shut it down for border security", Trump had said. Speaking on the Senate floor, Schumer warned that "going along with the Trump shutdown is a futile act" because House Democrats would quickly approve government funding in January.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters Tuesday that he does not believe there will be a government shutdown before Christmas.

She said the White House "absolutely" believes it could legally use defense funding to pay for the wall, a proposition likely to meet legal challenge if tried.

But House Freedom Caucus co-founder Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) remained optimistic the shutdown will be prevented, speaking to Fox News on December 17.

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No. The Postal Service is considered an independent agency and is not part of this budget standoff. Mr. Trump has requested $5 billion for a border wall, but Congressional Democrats say they would only vote for a bill which would grant $1.6 billion for border security.

"Anytime you hear a Democrat saying that you can have good Border Security without a Wall, write them off as just another politician following the party line", Trump wrote on Twitter. "I don't really know what is [going to] happen", Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told reporters Monday evening.

"We're talking about how to resolve our dilemma, which is what we all need to do", he said.

Some members of Congress have told U.S. media they see little chance of reaching a compromise in the coming days and have advocated for a short-term stopgap spending bill that would punt the problem until January. The shutdown could affect more than 800,000 federal workers, including at least 420,000 who would be working without pay.

It would only be a partial shutdown - 75% of the government is funded through to September next year.

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Schumer and Pelosi offered Trump two alternatives for a spending bill: passing the six bipartisan appropriations bills and year-long funding for Homeland Security, which would only include $1.3 billion for the wall - or passing a year-long funding bill for all of the seven agencies.

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