The White House on Tuesday backed away from its demand that Congress approve $5 billion for a wall on the southern border, saying it can find other ways to fund the construction.
“We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News.
“At the end of the day we don’t want to shut down the government, we want to shut down the border.”
“There are certainly a number of different funding sources that we’ve identified that we can use, that we can couple with money that would be given through congressional appropriations that would help us get to that $5 billion that the president needs in order to protect our border,” the press secretary said.
The new position is a far cry from President Trump’s declaration last week during an acrimonious kerfuffle with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in the Oval Office that he would be “proud” to shut down the government over border security.
Trump did, however, float using defense funds and the military to build the border wall if he cannot get the funds he wants from Congress.
The government is scheduled to partially shut down on Friday when funding runs out for several departments, including Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, State, Interior, Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce, Homeland Security, and Justice. Democrats, Republicans, and the president have all expressed a desire to keep it open, but both parties for several weeks were refusing to compromise on border-security funding, with Democratic leadership saying they would approve no more than $1.6 billion for border security.