As shutdown approaches, Trump calls border wall ‘essential’

As shutdown approaches, Trump calls border wall ‘essential’

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President Donald Trump checks out prototypes for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall during a March visit to San Diego, Calif. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump stood by his call for $5 billion to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday afternoon, appearing unfazed by the prospect of a partial government shutdown.

“I’ve made my position very clear. Any measure that funds the government must include border security,” Trump said during a signing ceremony for an unrelated agriculture bill. “Not for political purposes, but for our country, for the safety of our community.”

While 75 percent of the federal government is funded through the current fiscal year, funding for remaining departments will expire at midnight on Friday night without Congressional action and presidential approval, resulting in a partial shutdown.

On Wednesday, the Senate unanimously approved a CR that maintains funding at existing levels for nine executive departments through Feb. 8, 2019.

The House was expected to take up the CR Thursday afternoon.

Trump initially appeared prepared to sign onto the stopgap measure, but surprised lawmakers by coming out against it late Thursday morning.

Trump then summoned House Republican leaders to the White House for a meeting, one that ultimately yielded no deal.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters afterwards that his party will revisit the legislation in hopes of making it more palatable for the president.

While Democrats have offered $1.6 billion in border security, Trump said Thursday that a physical barrier is “essential.”

“Walls work, whether we like it or not,” Trump claimed. “They work better than anything.”

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