04:02 GMT +322 April 2018
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    Children play at a newly built section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall at Sunland Park, U.S. opposite the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico November 18, 2016

    Government Shutdown Looms as Trump Demands Funds for His Border Wall

    © REUTERS / Jose Luis Gonzalez
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    A US government shutdown may be in the works for next week, as Democratic lawmakers plan to put up a fight against President Donald Trump’s demand that funds for his Mexican border wall be included in the spending bill.

    The deadline for passing the budget for the remainder of the fiscal year is April 28, and White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has said that border wall funds must be included, as well as money to hire more immigration agents.

    “We know there are a lot of people on the Hill, especially in the Democratic Party, who don’t like the wall, but they lost the election. And the president should, I think, at least have the opportunity to fund one of his highest priorities in the first funding bill under his administration,” Mulvaney said in an interview with the Associated Press.

    The last time the government shut down was in 2013, when Republicans attempted to stop the funding of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The standoff lasted for 16 days, shuttering all “nonessential” government services until the Republicans gave in.

    "Everything had been moving smoothly until the administration moved in with a heavy hand," Matt House, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, told CNBC. "Not only are Democrats opposed to the wall, there is significant Republican opposition as well."

    Democrats believe that even if their resistance to Trump’s wall makes them responsible for the shutdown, the Republican Party will be blamed.

    "We have the leverage and they have the exposure," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said during a conference call with other Democrats on Thursday.

    For their part, the Democrats are demanding that the bill include billions of dollars to keep Obamacare running smoothly. They want to budget to include funds to subsidize cost-sharing payments to insurance companies, which helps low-income citizens afford their healthcare plans.

    While the administration is not enthusiastic about additional money for Obamacare, Mulvaney explained that they may be open to a compromise to pass some Republican priorities.

    “If it’s important enough to the Democrats, we’d be happy to talk to them about including that in sort of some type of compromise,” Mulvaney said. 

    "If Democrats are interested and serious about compromise and negotiation, the ball is in their court,” he added.

    The White House will be issuing instructions in preparation for a shutdown on Friday, though the president has stated he hopes to avoid it.

    “As far as keeping the government open, I think we want to keep the government open. Don’t you agree?” Trump asked on Thursday during a news conference.


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    Government Shutdown, Budget, Border Wall, Nancy Pelosi, Donald Trump, Mick Mulvaney, Mexico, United States
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