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Trump Threatens Government Shutdown Over Border Bucks, but Could It Backfire?

08-24-2017
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Donald Trump 88
Donald Trump 88

President Trump is taking a firm stand to get funding for his border wall with Mexico, threatening a government shutdown if Congress doesn't sign off on it. But it's a hard-line approach that could backfire.

"Believe me if we have to close down our government we will. We're building that wall," Trump said at a rally in Arizona. 

The comments drew quick responses from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers. They return to Washington in early September and have only a small window of time before the budget deadline.

The government's current funding is set to expire on October 1st. 

"I don't think anyone's interested in having a shutdown. I don't think it's in our interest to do so," House Speaker Paul Ryan said at a rally in Oregon.

Ryan said he believed lawmakers would work to pass a short-term spending bill in September in order to have more time to settle on a broader budget agreement.

He also said the government could keep operating while at the same time, trying to follow through on the president's priority of securing the border.

"While we work on doing what we actually said we would do, what we've done already in the House, what we need to do which is to control our borders so I don't think you have to choose between the two, we've got to get through our appropriations process," Ryan explained.

Democrats, meanwhile, rejected Trump's threat of a shutdown outright.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called it "destructive and pointless," and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said it wouldn't accomplish anything.

The president is also calling for the Senate to get rid of the filibuster, which would make it easier for Republicans to push the bill through.

Because of the Senate filibuster rules, the spending bill to fund the wall requires 60 votes to advance. Republicans only hold 52 seats and so far no Democrat is expected to support the border wall spending bill. 

Democrats are likely to press for a budget issue of their own – keeping taxpayer money going to America's top abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.

A possible shutdown could have another big downside for the White House and Republicans. It would interfere with the President's top priority – a tax plan to help rebuild the economy.

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