In a major shift, the White House announced on Tuesday that it would seek alternative funding sources for a border wall to avoid shutting down the government.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Fox News, “At the end of the day we don’t want to shut down the government, we want to shut down the border.”
The move is a major reversal from President Trump’s boasting during a televised meeting in the Oval Office with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer last week that he would be “proud” to shut down the government if Democrats didn’t agree to allocate $5 billion towards building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The White House announcement does not guarantee that the shutdown, which would start at 11:59 pm on Friday would be averted. That’s when funding for several agencies including the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Interior, and Agriculture will run out if Congress cannot reach an agreement on the budget or a short-term funding bill.
But if the government does shut down, it likely will not have as much impact as previous shutdowns. The departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education will remain funded, and national parks will stay open, albeit with limited staff.