The pre-Christmas government shutdown is looking a bit more likely after Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (WI-1) announced around 1:00 p.m. that President Donald Trump “will not sign” the funding measure to keep the government open over the lack of dedicated funding to the border wall. This afternoon, Trump met with House GOP leaders at the White House to discuss funding measures as money will run out tomorrow at midnight, but said he will refuse to accept a stop-gap measure, which has already passed the Senate.
On Twitter hours ago, President Trump said that when he “begrudgingly signed the [$1.3 trillion] Omnibus Bill” in late March, he “was promised the Wall and Border Security by leadership…It didn’t happen!”
The battle over the border wall was elevated during a raucous meeting in the Oval Office last week with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-12). President Trump reiterated to the two congressional leaders his request for $5 billion in funding for national security interests, namely the construction of the long-awaited campaign promise of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
After waning on his position to shut down the federal government this week, Trump faced criticism from conservative lawmakers in Washington who warned of the potential backlash from the Republican voting base if he does not deliver on one of his most-touted agenda items.
Currently, some of the only evidence of parts of Trump’s barrier is what the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) calls “120 miles of 30-foot-tall steel bollard fencing ‘in areas most needed by the Border Patrol,” which is reported to “be finished and under construction by the end of the current fiscal year,” according to a press release.
As the Democrats are set to regain the majority in the House in just over two weeks, it will be the last time Trump may have a chance to secure authorization for funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall. If not, President Trump must win a second term in the White House and the incoming GOP minority must reclaim the lower chamber of Congress.
Regardless, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has explained that the Trump Administration is looking into other departments to carry out the work and alternative funding options. The $1.6 billion on the table for border security cannot be used for new wall construction, only for border fence improvements.
Since Speaker Ryan relayed to the President that the votes “aren’t there” in the GOP-controlled House, Trump has alluded to having the U.S. military build the wall, which could face significant pushback from the public and Congress.