President Trump on Sunday said he was skeptical that Congress would reach an agreement to fund his long-promised border wall in the coming weeks and suggested he would be willing to allow the government to shutdown again if an agreement is not reached.
“I personally think it’s less than 50-50, but you have a lot of very good people on that board,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal when asked about the likelihood that a newly-formed bipartisan committee of 17 lawmakers would come to an agreement on border security funding before the government shutdowns again in three weeks.
Trump agreed Friday to sign a three-week stopgap spending bill that did not include the $5.7 billion in border wall funding that initially prompted the shutdown, which lasted a record 35 days and deprived some 800,000 federal workers of their pay.
Asked if he would consider creating a path to citizenship for immigrants brought to the country illegally as children in exchange for wall funding, Trump insisted the issues should be negotiated separately, despite offering a three-year temporary asylum to that population earlier this month as part of negotiations over border security.
“I doubt it,” he said. “That’s a separate subject to be taken up at a separate time.”
Acting White House chief of staff seemed to echo Trump’s commitment to move forward with border wall funding regardless of Congressional inaction during a Sunday appearance on Fox News.
“The president’s commitment is to defend the nation, and he will do it either with or without Congress,” Mulvaney said.
Trump is also considering allowing government funding to lapse once again if he believes it will help the push the committee toward a long term immigration deal that includes the full $5.7 billion he has requested for a physical barrier.
It’s “certainly an option,” Trump said of another government shutdown.