Home / World / Americas

Shutdown threat ebbs as Trump retreats on wall funding

By Afp - Ap - Xinhua | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-27 07:01

WASHINGTON - Donald Trump and US lawmakers inched closer to a deal on Tuesday avoiding a government shutdown, as the president, eager to showcase a win marking his first 100 days, retreated from a demand to fund a border wall.

With the government set to exhaust its current funding at midnight on Friday, the White House is under the gun to craft a compromise that would keep the government running while not appearing to cave on Trump's demand that Congress fund a wall on the border with Mexico.

"Hopefully, we'll reach an agreement some time in the next couple of days," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, but he did not rule out passing a short-term extension that gives lawmakers time to craft a final deal.

While lawmakers said the funding legislation would steer clear of including funding for a border wall, it is expected to cover broader border security measures, such as the use of drones or anti-tunnelling technology.

But a deal remained far from certain. Among the sticking points is the fate of cost-sharing arrangements that help reduce health insurance costs for low-income US citizens buying plans through the Affordable Care Act, the reform implemented by Trump's predecessor Barack Obama.

Trump had been on a collision course with lawmakers over the wall, demanding that Congress include funding to start construction in its new spending bill.

Democrats blasted the approach, warning that Republicans risked being blamed for shuttering the government barely three months into Trump's administration.

"There aren't enough Republican votes to put the wall in" to the spending bill, said veteran Senator Patrick Leahy, top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee.

With jitters rippling through Washington, Trump apparently agreed to soften his demand days before the deadline.

He said that he was open to delaying funding for the wall's construction until September, according to The Washington Post.

By Tuesday, the government was acknowledging Trump's plan could be pushed back.

"Building that wall and having it funded remains an important priority to him," adviser Kellyanne Conway told Fox News. "But we also know that that can happen later this year and into next year."

Most Viewed in 24 Hours