With president Trump optimistic, but already laying plans for a possible government shutdown – which incidentally would take place on the symbolic 100th day of Trump’s administration, incentivizing Democrats to be especially confrontational – White House budget director Mick Mulvaney tried to talk down concerns of an imminent government closure, and said talks between Republicans and Democrats in Congress could reach an agreement to avoid a government shutdown as early as Sunday.
“The negotiations are ongoing and there’s no reason we can’t have an agreement there as early as today,” Mulvaney said in an interview on Fox News Sunday.
Well, there is a reason, and a pretty big one at that: Mulvaney conceded that negotiations continue to be stuck on Trump’s demand that Congress include $1.5 billion to begin a building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, an item Democrats view as a deal breaker. Trump has repeatedly said he wanted a wall to stem the flow of illegal immigrants.
In two tweets on Sunday, Trump touch on this particularly sensitive topic, saying that “the Democrats don’t want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members” and added that “Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall.”
Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2017
In other words, Mexico may (or but won’t) gladly pay Thursday for a border wall today.
In yet other words, as the WSJ writes, “a partisan clash over President Donald Trump’s border wall is heightening chances of a government shutdown next weekend as members of the Trump administration and congressional Democrats drew sharp lines in the sand on Sunday.“
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, speaking on CBS ’s “Face the Nation,” said it is likely that Mr. Trump will insist on including money to fund a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico in a bill this week to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year. “He will do the right thing, for sure, but I suspect he will be insistent on the funding,” Mr. Kelly said.
White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney underscored the importance of including money for the Mexican wall in the bill, a sentiment that Mr. Mulvaney also expressed in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Friday.
“It’s not like we’re inserting something that the president didn’t talk about on the campaign,” Mulvaney told the Journal Friday. “It should come as a surprise to no one that President Trump wants money for a Southern border wall.”
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Meanwhile, as discussed on Friday. Republicans and Democrats have until next Friday to agree on a funding package to keep the federal government open until Sept. 30, when the 2017 federal fiscal year ends. Legislation will require support from Democrats to clear the Senate. Lawmakers return Monday to Washington following a two-week long recess. Members of the Senate return Monday, followed by House members Tuesday.
Congress will have just four days to pass some form of spending bill to keep the government solvent past April 28. After that date, funding for agencies that provide services the government deems “non-essential,” like federal museums or national parks, could get temporarily cut if Congress fails to strike an agreement.
Ahead of the expiration of his first 100 days in office, Trump is also expected on Wednesday to announce his tax reform plan. Trump has pledged to slash tax rates for businesses and people who pay taxes, saying that doing so would boost the economy and help create millions of new jobs. However, Mulvaney said the reform plan would include governing principles and guidance on tax rates rather than policy details that could be crafted into legislation.
“What you’re going to see on Wednesday for the first time is: here’s what our principles are; here’s some of the ideas we like, some of the ideas we don’t like … here’s some of the rates we’re talking about,” he said. The White House expects to see tax reform legislation sometime in June.
In other words, as Citi put it, expect “only headlines” on Wednesday.