Trump refuses to sign stopgap spending bill without border wall

President Donald Trump

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump Thursday refused to sign the Senate’s stopgap spending bill as it lacks funding provisions for border security, including his long-desired wall along the US-Mexico border, a decision that significantly increases the risk of a government shutdown before Christmas.

“The president informed us he will not sign the bill,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters at the White House following his meeting with Trump in his Oval Office.

In a minute-long statement on the driveway outside the West Wing, Ryan said lawmakers would work on adding border security measures to the funding bill, but did not specifically mention border-wall funding.

“We have very serious concerns about securing our border. The president said, ‘I will not sign this bill’. So we’re going to go back and work on adding border security to this,” Ryan told reporters, indicating that it would be tough to avoid government shutdown beginning this weekend.

Trump’s choice effectively torpedoes a spending bill that would fund the government through February 8, but does not provide additional funding for his long-desired wall along the US-Mexico border.

Lawmakers have until the end of Friday to reach a new agreement or funding will lapse for the Department of Homeland Security and six other government agencies.

The White House indicated the same.

Trump refuses to sign stopgap spending bill without border wall
President Donald Trump

“President Trump just met with Republican Members of the House. Not surprisingly, they all feel strongly about Border Security stopping the flow of drugs, stopping human trafficking, and stopping terrorism,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

“We protect nations all over the world, but Democrats are unwilling to protect our nation. We urgently need funding for border security and that includes a wall,” Sanders said in a statement after Trump’s meeting with Republican Congressional leaders.

Democrats have said they will not accept Trump’s demands for more border wall funding and it is unclear whether such a package would have enough votes to pass the House. The Senate on Wednesday approved the stopgap spending bill without wall money by voice vote.

White House aides had signalled publicly and privately that Trump was prepared to drop his demand for USD 5 billion in wall funding, even though the president never announced whether he would support such a plan, a media report said.

Conservative lawmakers and right-wing pundits have pressured Trump to veto a the spending deal, arguing the lack of border wall money would anger his base, it said. PTI