- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 31, 2018

President Trump on Tuesday reinforced his threat to shut down the government this fall over border wall funding, saying the issue is bigger than politics.

“I don’t care what the political ramifications are, our immigration laws and border security have been a complete and total disaster for decades, and there is no way that the Democrats will allow it to be fixed without a Government Shutdown,” Mr. Trump said in a tweet.

He continued, “Border Security is National Security, and National Security is the long-term viability of our Country. A Government Shutdown is a very small price to pay for a safe and Prosperous America!”

It was the president’s third shutdown threat in as many days.

The threats buck an agreement on spending bills Mr. Trump struck last week with GOP leaders.

Those leaders have said they remain on track to pass many of their spending bills before the Sept. 30 fiscal year deadline, brushing aside Mr. Trump’s demands and saying they’re intent on avoiding a shutdown.

“We’re trying to go through a normal appropriations process,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

He said he and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer have come to an agreement to avoid major ideological fights on the spending bills. Republicans said they’re still intent on boosting money for Mr. Trump’s wall, but their top goal is getting the government funded.

Mr. Schumer said success will depend on Republicans ignoring Mr. Trump.

“They’re going to have to show some strength and tell Donald Trump, if you want to get the government working and not in total gridlock he’s going to have to leave it to the Congress,” Mr. Schumer said.

Mr. Trump got $1.6 billion for border infrastructure in the 2018 spending bill and initially asked for $1.6 billion for fiscal year 2019, which begins Oct. 1. He later boosted that request.

The Senate wrote its Homeland Security funding bill to the original $1.6 billion level, while the House has allocated $5 billion in its version.

The homeland bill is one of the dozen bills required to clear Congress each year to keep the government operating.

Several of the bills have already cleared both chambers, and they can be signed independently, heading off the threat of a full government shutdown — and thwarting Mr. Trump’s demands.

The immigration issue helps some Republican candidates, especially in Senate races in states where Mr. Trump is popular. But the issue can damage Republicans in swing districts that likely will decide whether Democrats can take control of the House.

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