Trump defends move to risk government shutdown

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan R-Wis., and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy R-Calif. talk to journalists after meeting with President Trump at the White House on Thursday about a deal to fund the government

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But he says he's willing to accept a steel slat barrier instead of the continuous concrete wall that was the central promise of his 2016 campaign.

Just days before a possible government shutdown, President Donald Trump continues to urge Democrats to back the funding for the U.S. -Mexico border wall.

It's unclear whether the bill can pass the House. "I think they know that".

"I thought if you're going to have a fight, now's the time to have it", said Senator Lindsey Graham, a close ally of the president who warned that it's only going to get more hard to get the money when Democrats take over.

The Senate passed the bill Wednesday.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, the current no. 2 highest-ranking Senate Republican, predicted on Wednesday that Trump would sign it.

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The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed legislation to fund several federal agencies through February 8 and avert a partial government shutdown, but without including $5 billion for a U.S. -Mexico border wall that President Donald Trump demanded.

But the White House showed its willingness to budge as it became apparent the president did not have support in Congress for paying for the wall.

President Donald Trump has been successfully pushed away from a potential compromise on a bill to avoid a government shutdown by the most right-wing members of the House of Representatives who are demanding money for a border wall.

Trump told the crowd, which included the bipartisan group of lawmakers who spearheaded the farm bill, that securing the nation's borders was his "solemn promise" and that illegal immigration reportedly costs $275 billion per year.

Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY have made it clear they will not support money for Trump's wall. The aides say the White House is intentionally not signaling what Trump will do, but there does not appear to be talk inside the West Wing of blocking it. He also argued that Mexico will pay "indirectly" for the wall because the terms of a new trade deal will boost USA revenue.

Several GOP senators said that even if the House passed additional funding for border security, it could not pass the Senate, where votes are needed from Democrats to advance it. Many are concerned that Republicans will not have another chance to fulfill Trump's demand for $5 billion to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

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Ryan, standing next to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, said the leaders are "going to go back to the House and work with our members" on a solution that includes border security funding. "Why would you?" she asked, arguing that Trump's time in office will one day go down as "a joke presidency that scammed the American people". The plan averts a partial shutdown that could begin at midnight Friday.

Their dismay is the latest in a series of conservatives coming out against Trump policies. The House Republican leadership has canceled a press conference scheduled for Thursday.

The remaining six departments that wouldn't be closed - including the Defense Department - represent about three-quarters of discretionary spending and are funded through September 30 under legislation passed and signed by Trump earlier this year.

"The president said, 'I will not sign this bill.' So we're going to go back and work on adding border security to this".

In reality, about two-thirds of the federal government is already funded through a budget deal reached earlier in the year, so a partial shutdown would not affect most federal employees, including those serving in the armed forces.

The president was meeting with House Republicans as he weighed his options before the shutdown deadline at the end of Friday.

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