- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 17, 2018

With Congress still not on board his border wall plans, President Trump said Saturday that it’s a “good time to do a shutdown,” suggesting he will refuse to accept any appropriations bills that don’t include the $5 billion he’s asking for.

He did say he doesn’t think one will happen because “Democrats will come to their senses” on the issue.

And he said he’s ready to keep the troops he deployed to the border as long as necessary.

“We’re talking about border wall, we’re talking about quite a big sum of money, about $5 billion,” he told reporters at the White House before jetting off to California to survey the effort to contain wildfires. “This would be a very good time to do a shutdown. I don’t think it’s going to be necessary, because I think the Democrats will come to their senses, and if they don’t come to their senses, we will continue to win elections.”

For most people in Washington a government shutdown is a sign of failure, but Mr. Trump views it as a weapon to be deployed, and at times has even seemed eager over the possibility.

He said before the election he was cooling shutdown talk because Republicans on Capitol Hill convinced him it was hurting them. But with the election over, he appears emboldened again.

A shutdown now would be less painful than the GOP-orchestrated 16-day shutdown in 2013 because Congress has already approved — and Mr. Trump signed — five of the 12 annual spending bills into law. covering about 70 percent of discretionary government funding.

There is a Dec. 7 deadline, though, for funding operations at the State, Interior, Homeland Security, Justice and other departments.

The border wall money fight is part of the debate over that Homeland Security spending bill.

Mr. Trump initially asked for $1.6 billion, or the same amount as last year, but later upped the request to $5 billion.

Senators are working on a bill at the $1.6 billion level, while the House passed a bill at the $5 billion level.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer has shown little willingness to compromise, saying Congress should stick with his chamber’s $1.6 billion figure.

And he urged Mr. Trump to butt out of any negotiations.

“We believe Democrats and Republicans should stick with their agreement and not let President Trump interfere. Every time he interferes, it gets bollixed up,” Mr. Schumer told reporters this week.

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