U.S. President Donald Trump said he would “totally be willing” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t approve the US$5 billion he’s requesting to build the border wall with Mexico.
As part of the year-end budget negotiations, a Republican key committee approved Trump’s monetary request for the wall, but the Democrats in the Senate have agreed to only US$1.6 billion so far.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer declared on Tuesday that the Democrats’ position remains the same and that he wouldn’t negotiate in public.
Republican lawmakers such as Steve Scalise and Kevin McCarthy have declared Trump is very certain about that figure, and that it’s up to the Democrats if there will be an agreement.
"November 30 is the deadline. Democrats know that deadline as well, so they've got some decisions they'll have to make," said Scalise.
Both parties have to secure fundings for several government agencies before December 7, including the justice, national security and state departments, to avoid a shutdown.
Trump’s requested US$5 billion, however, are only for the physical wall and don’t include border patrol and other fundings.
The threat of a paralysis comes just as an undetermined number of mostly Central American immigrants are approaching the border or are already installed in Tijuana, Mexico, in their attempt to request asylum in the U.S. after leaving their home countries.
However, Trump has shown willingness for a different strategy if he can’t convince Democrats over the US$5 billion for the separation wall, suggesting different methods he has been testing already.
"We need Democrat votes to have a wall," Trump told the Washington Post. "Now, if we don't get it, will I get it done another way? I might get it done another way. There are other potential ways that I can do it. You saw what we did with the military, with the barbed wire and the fencing, and various other things."
The wall was one of Trump’s main campaign promises and part of his slogans, saying he would make Mexico paid for it. However, Mexican authorities have repeatedly refused to take part in its financing.
The government was already shut down for three days in January, as the main political forces couldn't agree on the budget. Currently, Republicans only hold 51 seats in the Senate, which means they’re 9 votes short to pass on any funding.