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Published: Sun, April 23, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Trump budget chief: Spending bill must have money for wall

Trump budget chief: Spending bill must have money for wall

As the deadline for a spending bill looms, the Trump administration is reportedly throwing a monkey wrench into negotiations.

But that doesn't mean a deal will come easy.

Budget director Mick Mulvaney has demanded that any stopgap spending bill include funding for Trump's border wall - a proposal loathed by Democrats, who would have to give any bill at least eight votes to pass the Senate. And Republicans know that unless they want to add a government shutdown to their portfolios, they are going to have to make some concessions. And the unpredictability of what Trump wants is throwing many of our budget experts' predictions from "probably no shutdown this time" to "anything could happen".

While campaigning, Trump repeatedly said that Mexico would pay for his proposed border wall. "We want agents. Those are our priorities", Mulvaney said.

None of these wish list items are new.

"Deficits are not driving the discussion", Mulvaney said.

"This is the first real test of whether or not the Democrats, specifically in the Senate, are interested in negotiating, interested in compromising", Mulvaney said in remarks at an Institute of International Finance event.

The problem is that most of those things will be met with a wall of Democratic opposition.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. "They understand the importance of that".

Without a spending bill next week, the government will shut down on Friday April 28, which would be day 99 of the Trump presidency.

"We've finally boiled this negotiation down to something that we want very badly that the Democrats really don't like, and that's the border wall".

In the House, Democrats feel no obligation to help Republicans secure votes to pass their measure.

After weeks of bipartisan budget talks to prevent a government shutdown, President Donald Trump is making a border wall request that could bring the government to a halt.

But in a conference call with fellow Democrats Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was unimpressed, saying "We have the leverage and they have the exposure". "It's required. Our goal is to continue to do what's necessary to fund our government".

An aide to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused Mulvaney of gumming up the works. Trump also hopes to use a $1 trillion catchall spending bill to salvage victories on his promised U.S. -Mexico border wall, a multibillion-dollar down payment on a Pentagon buildup, and perhaps a crackdown on cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement by federal authorities.

Still, he characterized a funding lapse as "unlikely" and says the White House remains "confident that we're not going to have a shutdown". "Last minute White House efforts in this negotiation and public statements are making a bipartisan agreement more hard to reach as is their push to have an ACA (Affordable Care Act) repeal vote next week", said Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Next week, Trump will release his plan for individual and business income tax cuts, and yet, as White House sources suggested, the final legislation will likely not include all its initial provisions.

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