WASHINGTON - The Republican-led House of Representatives has passed a temporary spending bill that gives U.S. President Donald Trump $5 billion for his border wall.
The House voted 217-185 late Thursday in hopes of averting a government shutdown at midnight Friday.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where it has no chance of being approved.
Trump had demanded the money to build the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, telling House Republican leaders earlier Thursday that he wouldn’t sign a bill approved by the Senate, which does not include wall funding.
“At this moment, the president does not want to go further without border security, which includes steel slats or a wall,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “The president is continuing to weigh his options.”
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday, “President Trump is plunging the country into chaos. The stock market is down another 500 points. General Mattis is stepping down. ... And now, President Trump is throwing a temper tantrum and creating the Trump shutdown of the government.”
Trump unexpectedly summoned key Republican lawmakers to the White House for talks about the wall and the temporary spending measure needed to keep about a quarter of government operations from shutting down when current funding expires at the end of Friday, just ahead of the Christmas holiday next week.
Trump has voiced increasing frustration that Congress has refused his quest for a $5 billion down payment on the $20 billion wall he says will thwart illegal immigration. Construction of the wall was a popular rallying cry at Trump campaign events during his successful 2016 run for the White House.
But he has not disclosed his intentions on the temporary spending package to avert a closure that would furlough about 800,000 federal workers and curtail some government services. The Senate late Wednesday approved the stopgap funding through Feb. 8 and the House of Representatives was set to vote on it Thursday.
But the outcome of a House vote grew more uncertain as staunch conservatives took to the airwaves to call on Trump to reject any spending plan that does not include funding for the wall.
The dispute is occurring in the last days of Republican control of both houses of Congress.
Democrats, adamantly opposed to Trump’s wall proposal, picked up 40 seats in the 435-member House of Representatives in the November elections and are set assume control in early January, although Republicans will maintain their edge in the Senate.
Before the meeting at the White House, Trump blamed opposition Democrats for congressional failure to approve the wall, although some Republicans also oppose it.
The Democrats, who know Steel Slats (Wall) are necessary for Border Security, are putting politics over Country. What they are just beginning to realize is that I will not sign any of their legislation, including infrastructure, unless it has perfect Border Security. U.S.A. WINS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2018
Trump also praised U.S. law enforcement efforts aimed at blocking illegal migration into the U.S.
With so much talk about the Wall, people are losing sight of the great job being done on our Southern Border by Border Patrol, ICE and our great Military. Remember the Caravans? Well, they didn’t get through and none are forming or on their way. Border is tight. Fake News silent!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2018
Trump, after vowing during the campaign two years ago to make Mexico pay for the wall, has unsuccessfully sought congressional approval for U.S. taxpayer funding for the wall. But with uniform Democratic opposition and scattered Republican opposition as well, Trump has not collected enough votes to win approval for the wall.
Trump last week said he would "proudly" accept responsibility for a shutdown in a fight over the border wall.
“It is nothing to be proud of,” Schumer said. “The bottom line is simple: the Trump temper tantrum will shut down the government, but it will not get him his wall.”
Nonetheless, Trump tweeted, "One way or the other, we will win on the Wall!"
In our Country, so much money has been poured down the drain, for so many years, but when it comes to Border Security and the Military, the Democrats fight to the death. We won on the Military, which is being completely rebuilt. One way or the other, we will win on the Wall!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018