US government shutdown threat recedes after Trump's wall concession


Congressional leaders have been saying for months that they know they will have to put up money for Trump's request to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

Trump himself muddied the waters by adding a return to health care reform to the legislative docket, and promised a "big announcement" on tax reform during the week leading up to the crucial budget deadline and, coincidentally, the 100-day marker of his presidency.

"Congressional Republicans appear frustrated by the last-minute White House interventions, which have undermined their ability to achieve an agreement", the aide told CNN.

Trump again on Monday hammered its importance on Twitter, but stopped short of threatening a veto: "The Wall is a very important tool in stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth (and many others)!"

But a big stumbling block remains, involving a Democratic demand for money for insurance companies that help low-income people afford health policies under former President Barack Obama's health law, or that Trump abandon a threat to use the payments as a bargaining chip.

"Instead of risking a government shutdown by shoving this wall down Congress' and the American people's throats, the president ought to just let us come to an agreement", said Schumer.

Mexico has said it wants to put "all the issues" on the table, including security, migration and trade in negotiations with the United States, a point Videgaray underlined.

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"As long as the President's priorities are adequately reflected in the (continuing resolution) and it allows us to get moving with an increase in military spending and a rebuilding of our military as he promised in one of your bullet points, and there's enough as far as flexibility for the border wall and border security, I think we'll be OK with that", Priebus said on NBC's "Meet the Press".

Republicans are also vetting proposed changes to their beleaguered health care bill that they hope will attract enough votes to finally push it through the House.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said negotiations between Democrats and Republicans in both the House of Representatives and the Senate were "going quite well" and that he was hopeful a deal could be reached.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Trump had been clear about his desire for a wall.

Building the wall, paid for by Mexico, was a key campaign promise.

Congress needs to act by the end of this week to avoid a government shutdown.

For all the goals Trump won't accomplish by his 100th day in office, he may feel more bullish about getting a boost in military spending included in the spending bill.

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Pressed repeatedly on Monday about whether Trump would sign off on a budget that leaves out funding for the border wall, White House press secretary Sean Spicer demurred. Both Democratic leaders had criticized Trump earlier Monday.

In remarks to conservative news media outlets that were confirmed by the White House, Trump said on Monday evening he may wait until Republicans begin drafting the budget blueprint for the fiscal year that starts on October 1 to seek funds for the wall. So far, negotiations have proven hard, with disputes over the wall and health law subsidies to help low-income people afford health insurance.

On Obama's health law, Priebus said he'd like to have a vote on the GOP repeal-and-replace bill in the House this week.

On Sunday, Democrats called for Trump to stop making "poison pill" demands.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told Bloomberg that the administration had made an offer to Democrats to maintain a dollar in subsidies for every dollar of wall funding they are willing to provide.

Senator Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, called on Trump to "back off".

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