White House closer to partial shutdown with wall demand

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"One way or the other, we will win on the Wall!" the president added ahead of the Friday night deadline to keep the Interior, Agriculture, State, Housing and Urban Development, Treasury, Commerce, and Homeland Security departments and a list of smaller agencies open for business.

The turn of events kick-started negotiations that had been nearly nonexistent since last week's televised meeting at the White House, when Trump neither accepted nor rejected the Democrats' offer.

President Donald Trump signaled defeat Wednesday on his threat to shut down almost half the federal government over his border wall funding demand, possibly pulling the country back from the brink of a Christmas crisis.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on the Senate floor Wednesday that he would be introducing a short-term bill that would fund the government through February 8.

The Senate inched closer towards a compromise that would let lawmakers leave town for the holiday break, but the solution they will vote on does not solve the larger issues at hand regarding border security. Minority Leader Charles Schumer said Democrats would support it. But if that turns out to be the case, Doocey noted, Trump may not get the $1.3 billion in border wall funding offered by the Democrats.

Democrats and many Republicans have challenged the wisdom of giving Trump $5 billion this year to build a wall - which carries an estimated $24 billion price tag - that they argue would be less effective in securing the border than building on a mix of tools already in place. About 25 per cent of government funding would run out on Saturday absent action by Congress and Trump. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi signalled support.

It was a tacit acknowledgment that Congress was unlikely to fund the wall and marked a move away from Trump's tough rhetoric last week that he would be "proud" to shut down the government over wall funding.

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On Feb. 8, when the measure runs out, Democrats will have control of the House of Representatives, which could lead to an even more challenging battle for Trump over border wall funding.

But that has a big catch: the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to determine how taxpayer funds are spent, meaning lawmakers - including a Democratic-controlled House Appropriations Committee come January - would have to approve what's called a "reprogramming" request to repurpose funds allocated for other things.

Trump had neither accepted nor rejected the Democrats' proposal as of Friday, according to the Democrats, telling them he would take a look. Many Republicans say it's up to Trump and Democrats to cut a deal.

"Who would want to shut the government down?" he said.

Schumer on Tuesday dismissed the White House's reprogramming idea, saying: "They need congressional approval and they're not getting it for the wall".

"At the end of the day, we don't want to shut down the government", Sanders said on Fox News Channel.

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