The White House is insisting that the US Congress provide funding to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, putting a US government shutdown on the cards.
Without a resolution, parts of the federal government would shut down at midnight on Friday.
“We’re going to do whatever is necessary to build the border wall to stop this ongoing crisis of illegal immigration,” White House senior adviser Stephen Miller said on Sunday.
Asked if that meant having a government shutdown, he said: “If it comes to it, absolutely.”
US President Donald Trump said last week that he would be “proud” to have a shutdown to get Congress to approve a US$5 billion payment to fulfill his campaign promise to build a border wall.
Democratic congressional leaders Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi have proposed no more than US$1.6 billion, as outlined in a bipartisan Senate bill. The money would not go for the wall, but for fencing upgrades and other border security.
Democrats also offered to simply keep funding at its current level of US$1.3 billion.
Schumer on Sunday said that it was up to Trump to decide whether the federal government would partially shut down.
About one-quarter of the government would be affected, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks.
“He is not going to get the wall in any form,” Schumer said.
Wyoming Senator John Barrasso said that Republicans remained hopeful they could make a proposal acceptable to Trump.
He said that could take the form of a stopgap bill that extends funding until next month, or a longer-term bill that includes money for border security.
“There are a lot of things you need to do with border security,” Barrasso said. “One is a physical barrier, but also the technology, the manpower, the enforcement, all of those things, and our current laws are in some ways an incentive for people to come to this country illegally, and they go through great risk and possibly great harm.”
Meanwhile, Trump and attorney Rudy Giuliani again criticized US Special Counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors, questioning their integrity while ruling out the possibility of a presidential interview with Mueller.
Trump and Giuliani used Twitter and television interviews to deliver a series of broadsides against Mueller and federal prosecutors in New York.
Giuliani said he was “disgusted” by the tactics used by Mueller in his probe into alleged Russian election interference, including in securing guilty pleas from the president’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn on a charge of lying to federal investigators.
Trump, Giuliani said, would not submit to an interview by Mueller’s team.
“They’re a joke,” Giuliani told Fox News Sunday.
“Over my dead body, but, you know, I could be dead,” he said.
Giuliani sarcastically said that the only thing left to ask the president was about “several unpaid parking tickets ... that haven’t been explained.”
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