President Donald Trump is “totally willing” to partially shut down the government if he doesn’t get $5 billion for the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, he told Politico, in an interview published Wednesday.
But Democrats aren’t backing down. The Senate agreed on $1.6 billion in border security funding, as part of the federal budget. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) insists on that deal, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
Congress is facing a Dec. 7 deadline to complete a funding package to keep the U.S. government running through next fall. Any shutdown would be partial, however, as 75% of government funding is already assured because of a deal made during the summer.
“If there’s any shutdown, it’s on President Trump’s back,” Schumer told reporters at the U.S. Capitol, according to the Times. Senate rules require 60 votes in favor of expanding funding, so Democrats could block any additions.
Trump claimed in the Politico that “I don’t do anything … just for political gain,” but went on to add that the fight over border control “is a total winner.”
“I am firm,” he said.
And yet, when asked by the Washington Post about wall funding in a separate interview published Tuesday, Trump said, “Now, if we don’t get it, will I get it done another way? I might get it done another way.” He then talked about having the military install barbed wire and fencing.
Karlyn Bowman, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told The Hill, “Historically, [a shutdown] really hasn’t benefited either party.”
One affected agency would be the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees border control. However, in past threatened shutdowns, most personnel were considered to be “performing emergency work involving the safety of human life or the protection of property,” and so had to report to work anyway, according to the agency.