Trump rejects compromise to avoid US government shutdown

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan says Trump ‘will not sign’ bill, citing dispute over border wall funding.

If a deal is not made, more than 800,00 federal workers would face furloughs or be forced to work without pay, disrupting government operations before the holidays [Reuters]
If a deal is not made, more than 800,00 federal workers would face furloughs or be forced to work without pay, disrupting government operations before the holidays [Reuters]

US President Donald Trump “will not sign” a temporary spending bill to keep the government open, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said on Thursday.

Ryan cited Trump’s dispute with Democrats over funding for his proposed border wall.

Ryan’s comments came after he and other House Republicans spoke to Trump on Thursday.

According to US media, Republican leaders had thought they had come to a compromise to avert a government shutdown, but White House Press Secretary said, “We urgently need funding for border security and that includes a wall”.

Trump sent mixed signals this week on whether he was willing to shut down the government if he did not get the $5bn he requested to help build the proposed wall on the US southern border.

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After Trump previously said he would be “proud” to shut down the government “for border security”, the White House appeared to walk back on the president’s comments on Monday, signalling that the administration had found an alternative way to get the money needed for the wall.

On Thursday morning, however, as the midnight Friday deadline for a funding bill loomed, Trump again lashed out at Democrats, tweeting that he would not sign “any of their legislation, including infrastructure, unless it has perfect Border Security”.

Government shutdown looms

Democrats have insisted that funding for the wall is a “non-starter”, and they would instead be willing to allocate money for other less expensive border security projects, including fences.

Politicians had hoped Trump would sign a temporary funding bill that would have kept the government open until February 8. But some Republicans said it would be better to fight for the border wall now as Democrats are set to take control of the House in the new year.

If a deal is not made before the deadline, more than 800,000 federal workers would face furloughs or be forced to work without pay, disrupting government operations before the holidays.

CNN, citing an unnamed senior administration official, reported that the administration had started the process of notifying government employees who may be affected by a potential government shutdown.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies