A government shutdown at midnight Friday is looking more likely.
Following a meeting Thursday at the White House, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said President Trump will not sign the latest short-term funding bill due to its lack of funding for border wall construction. The president’s stance threatens to undo a deal made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to keep the government’s doors open through the holidays.
Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) said that Republicans would add the $5 billion Trump has demanded for the border wall to the House version of the funding bill passed by the Senate late on Wednesday. The revised House bill may also include several billion dollars for disaster relief. It was not clear if the revised bill had enough votes to pass the House or the Senate.
After sending mixed signals all week on whether he would sign the Senate bill, which would push the battle over the border wall to February, Trump took a harder line on Thursday. Aggressive criticism of the bill – and the president, if he were to sign it – on conservative social media may have played a role. Ann Coulter attacked Trump as a “gutless president in a wall-less country,” while Fox News’ Dan Bongino warned that Trump's base "want their wall and they want it now." Numerous Trump supporters pointed out that the majority of Republicans support a shutdown in the absence of border wall funding.
Senators reacted with something like gallows humor as they learned about the latest development, according to Politico’s Burgess Everett, who described Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) as “almost punch-drunk on the chaos of the last few days.”
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) noted that while things could change in a hurry, the current state of affairs was less than ideal, saying, “It’s hard to come up with politics that are worse than shutdown politics. Unless it’s shutdown at Christmas politics.”