President Donald Trump says he’s willing to close down the government over border security issues. The statement has made most GOP lawmakers anxious as we head to the midterms later this year. Trump says that if Congress doesn’t give him the money he needs to build a wall along the southern Mexico border, he will be willing to shut down the government. Trump was, in particular, targeting Democrats adding that it’s time to get rid of the “Lottery, Catch, and Release” system and move towards a merit-based immigration system.
Trump said that “America needs good people” coming in and not just everyone. The president’s comments came just a few days after meeting GOP leaders in Congress including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority leader in the Senate Mitch McConnell. Government funding for the financial year starting October 1st was discussed in this meeting.
In an interview with a local radio, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell denied categorically that there won’t be a shutdown before the November midterms. However, he admitted that the issue of the border wall is unlikely to be solved before then. Ryan also said that Trump is very keen on funding for the border wall. He noted during a press briefing at the capitol shortly after the White House meeting that funding for the border wall was no longer a question of if but when.
Trump has made it clear that he will begin a vigorous campaign across the country over the coming months in an effort to ensure that Republicans retain the majority in Congress. However, his latest idea on a government shutdown hasn’t been openly welcomed by lawmakers, some of who will be facing tough races in November. Senator Ron Johnson, Republican from Wisconsin and Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said in a CBS interview that a government shutdown just before the elections is uncalled for. He urged lawmakers to do whatever it takes to avoid it.
Building a wall along the southern border was a key campaign promise during Trump’s run for the presidency. At the time he had promised his supporters that Mexico will provide much of the funding for the wall but that narrative soon died out when it became clear that Mexico wouldn’t foot the bill. Congress has tried to offer some money for the wall over the last two years. Although it’s not a lot, and totally not near enough to the $25 billion needed by the White House, it’s very likely that the president will get additional funds this year.
Trump has also petitioned Congress to make a number of radical changes on legal immigration that would make it harder for people to move to the country. Government spending will expire on the night of September 30th. Lawmakers will have a very small window to pass a spending bill shortly after before the midterms kick off in November. At the moment the House is in recess and won’t be back until after Labor Day.