WASHINGTON (AP) — Raising the specter of a government shutdown in just 10 days, President Donald Trump complained Thursday that a spending plan pushed by congressional Republicans is “ridiculous” because it does not include funding for a border wall with Mexico.
Trump tweeted that he wants to know “where is the money for Border Security and the WALL in this ridiculous Spending Bill.” He added that “REPUBLICANS MUST FINALLY GET TOUGH” against Democrats he said are obstructing law enforcement and border security.
Trump’s outburst could complicate efforts by GOP leaders to avert a partial government shutdown at the end of September and put off a potentially messy fight over border funding until after the midterm elections in November.
The Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that funds the military and some civilian agencies for the next year and provides a short-term fix to keep the government open through Dec. 7.
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The stopgap bill would not address Trump’s long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, although separate spending bills being considered in the House and Senate provide funding for the wall. GOP leaders have said they prefer to resolve the issue after the Nov. 6 elections.
Trump cited an opinion column by Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., blaming Democrats for the failure to fund the wall.
While Congress has made progress on spending bills, GOP leaders decided to roll their unfinished work into a package tied to defense funding and “call it a day until December,” Perdue said.
“This a total sleight of hand. It is caving to Senate Democrats who are doing everything they can to derail President Trump’s agenda, including funding for border security and the wall,” Perdue wrote in the Washington Examiner.
Perdue was one of seven senators who opposed the stopgap bill approved by the Senate. The House is expected to approve the bill next week, days ahead of a Sept. 30 deadline for a government shutdown.
A Republican congressional aide, who was not authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be identified, dismissed Trump’s tweet as “just saber-rattling” and said it would not derail efforts to avert a government shutdown at the start of the new budget year Oct. 1.
“We believe we are still on track with respect to the president signing both appropriations conference reports” that fund a range of agencies and keep the government open through Dec. 7, the aide said.
While Trump vented on Twitter, he privately assured aides Thursday that he would sign the spending bill, said an administration official who was not authorized to speak publicly and sought anonymity.
Indeed, despite Trump’s frustration, his tweet hints he will eventually sign the stopgap bill by asking where money for the wall will come from “after the Midterms?”
A bill being considered in the Senate allocates $1.6 billion for Trump’s wall next year, far short of the $5 billion that Trump is seeking. A bill approved by a House committee includes $5 billion for physical barriers and associated technology along the U.S. southern border.
Associated Press writer Catherine Lucey contributed to this story.