President Donald Trump could decide to shut down parts of the government in the coming days as he pushes for money to build his proposed border wall.
The House is expected to pass a bill as early as Wednesday that would fund the Pentagon and a few other agencies for a year, combined with a stopgap measure to sustain the rest of the government for a short time. It would not, however, fund Trump’s proposed barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border. The lack of cash for the project has frustrated Trump, who last week called the bill “ridiculous” and urged Republicans to “GET TOUGH!”
Since the Senate already approved the legislation, only the president’s veto would stop it from becoming law if it gets through the House. Trump has waffled on the idea of shutting down the government in recent weeks. Government funding expires at 12:01 a.m. ET Monday.
Earlier this month, Trump said “I would do it because I think it’s a great political issue.” GOP lawmakers worry about a shutdown hurting Republican candidates less than six weeks before November’s midterm elections. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan oppose letting funding lapse and want to address border wall funding after the midterms.
“There are a lot of politicians that I like and respect and are with me all the way that would rather not do it because they have races, they’re doing well, they’re up,” the president said on Sept. 7. “The way they look at it, might be good, might be bad.”
Two days before that, Trump said he was “willing to do anything” for border security. He contradicted comments he made only a day earlier, when he said that “I don’t see even myself or anybody else closing down the country right now.”
A White House spokeswoman did not immediately respond when asked if Trump planned to sign the spending bill. Trump already threatened to veto one spending bill earlier this year, before ultimately signing it.
A potential government shutdown would normally dominate the news in Washington. But Trump faces two other major crises this week: a hearing Thursday about a sexual assault allegation against his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, and a potential decision on the same day about whether to oust Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
The accusation has at least temporarily stalled the confirmation of Kavanaugh, who denies assaulting accuser Christine Blasey Ford when they were in high school decades ago. The judge now faces a second accusation of sexual misconduct, which he also denies.