The White House, under internal pressure to show legislative achievements ahead of the 100-day mark, is gearing up for a government shutdown fight to secure money for a border wall, more immigration enforcement officers and a bigger military, according to White House and congressional sources familiar with the plan.
It is a risky gambit. With almost uniform Democratic opposition to nearly all of the Trump administration’s spending proposals, the fight could lead to a government shutdown next Friday — the day government spending expires, and right before the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency. Officials could also strike a one-week compromise, giving them more time for a broader agreement.
Congressional Republicans, desperately looking to avoid a shutdown scare, are eyeing a modest increase for border security — perhaps an increase in funding for surveillance technology — and a small uptick in military spending. But two senior White House officials say they want a bigger win out of the fight, and an important deadline might help.
People familiar with the negotiations say Mick Mulvaney, the budget director, and Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director, are pushing congressional appropriators to include “billions” for their agenda in private conversations. The White House, one person familiar with the conversations said, has pushed for $3 billion for the border wall, and discussions have been ongoing.
“The CR is our biggest focus right now,” one senior administration official said, referring to the continuing resolution on spending.
One official said the White House is feeling pressure because of a perceived lack of accomplishments 100 days in and wants to use the hard deadline to secure a victory the administration can tout.
If the Trump administration pushes for direct funding for the border wall, the president will risk a shutdown. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has warned that senators would not agree to fund the wall.
One senior Democratic aide said Democrats could support more military spending and possibly new technology for border security. But other “poison pills,” like stripping money from Planned Parenthood, would be anathema to the legislation getting the 60 votes it needs to break a Senate filibuster.
“Anything that sounds like a deportation force would be problematic,” this person said.
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