Congress Could Avoid Decision On Trump’s Border Wall Funding With Latest Government Shutdown Bill

Chip SomodevillaGetty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that lawmakers are introducing a short-term measure to keep the government funded for the next few weeks. While the plan would keep doors open until February 8, it doesn’t address President Donald Trump’s demands for $5 billion to fund his border wall, according to USA Today,leaving the contentious topic for a later date.

Democrats and Republicans have been at odds over funding for a wall along the country’s southern border, pushing the government closer to a partial shutdown. Democrats have made two proposals for funding the government, but both have been rejected by Trump because they lack funding for the wall. Senate Republicans need to secure nine votes from Democrats in order to pass a spending bill.

Speaking on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday morning, Kentucky Republican McConnell said that they would introduce a stopgap measure later in the day that doesn’t address border wall funding — in order to keep things running in the short term.

“Later this morning, we’ll introduce a continuing resolution that will ensure continuous funding for the federal government. The measure will provide the resources necessary to continue normal operations through February 8th,” he said, adding, “We don’t want to end this year the way we began it, with another government shutdown.”

Still, McConnell took Democrats to task, saying that they rejected an “extremely reasonable” compromise of $1 billion for border security. The Kentucky Senator said that he was upset that his progressive colleagues “couldn’t put partisanship aside” in order to “secure the integrity of our borders.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded to McConnell, saying that Democrats would have rather gone with one of their two proposals, but that the temporary measure was a good solution in the short-term.

“We would have preferred one of our two options, but I’m glad the leader thinks the government should not shut down over the president’s demand for a wall, and Democrats will support this CR,” the New York Senator said.

Trump, for his part, has been openly willing to shut the government down over funding for the border wall, saying he would be “proud” to do so. The border wall was a key part of his campaign.

On Wednesday morning, Trump attempted to address the funding issue by claiming that Mexico was paying for the wall indirectly through a revised trade agreement. He also claimed that the military would begin constructing the wall, though he wasn’t clear on how either of these assertions, which critics have called factually suspect, per CNBC, would come to fruition.