- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 23, 2017

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on Sunday said it is unclear whether President Trump would sign a funding bill that doesn’t include money for his border wall with Mexico.

Funding for the wall is a key ingredient in talks around a stopgap measure that’s needed to keep the government agencies running beyond Friday.

“We want our priorities funded, and one of the biggest priorities during the campaign was border security — keeping Americans safe — and part of that was a border wall,” Mr. Mulvaney told “Fox News Sunday.”

Asked directly if he’d sign the bill without funding for the border wall, he said: “We don’t know yet.”

It’s unclear how much leverage Mr. Trump will have as negotiations unfold.

Democrats whose support will be needed to get the funding bill through Congress swiftly balked at Mr. Mulvaney’s offer of $1 in Obamacare’s “cost-sharing” payments for insurers for every dollar Mr. Trump gets for his border wall.

Insurers are being reimbursed right now, though a federal judge last year agreed with House Republicans who sued President Barack Obama, saying the money must be appropriated by Congress.

Democrats say the president is holding the health care of millions of low-income consumers “hostage” by threatening to withdraw an appeal of the lawsuit, cutting off the payments unless Congress blesses them.

“They’re holding hostage national security,” countered Mr. Mulvaney, noting key Democrats supported border fencing in the past.

Mr. Mulvaney said both sides in Congress are supposed to give a little on what they want, but that Democrats in the minority are demanding too much.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Mr. Trump’s priorities are out of line with what Americans want.

“The U.S. government is supposed to take care of its citizens and, according to the president, Mexico is supposed to pay for the wall,” Schumer spokesman Matt House said. “If the administration would drop their 11th-hour demand for a wall that Democrats, and a good number of Republicans oppose, Congressional leaders could quickly reach a deal.”

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