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Trump threatens to shut down U.S.-Mexico border wall over spending bill

Posted at 5:28 AM, Dec 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-29 02:35:11-05

(AP) - President Trump threatened Friday to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border if lawmakers fail to give him the $5 billion he requested to build a border wall.

On Twitter, the president wrote he will “close the Southern border entirely” if he does not get the money from “Obstructionist Democrats”.

Trump also tweeted, "Bring our car industry back into the United States where it belongs. Go back to pre-NAFTA, before so many of our companies and jobs were so foolishly sent to Mexico. Either we build (finish) the Wall or we close the Border......"

The border wall has been a deal breaker for negotiations on a spending bill that would end the partial government shutdown.

Trump vowed Wednesday to hold the line, telling reporters during a visit to Iraq that he'll do "whatever it takes" to get money for border security. He declined to say how much he would accept in a deal to end the shutdown, stressing the need for border security.

"You have to have a wall, you have to have protection," he said.

The shutdown started Saturday when funding lapsed for nine Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies. Roughly 420,000 workers were deemed essential and are working unpaid, while an additional 380,000 have been furloughed.

Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, a Trump ally who has been involved in the talks, said the president "is very firm in his resolve that we need to secure our border." He told CNN, "I don't know that there's a lot of progress that has been made today."

But he added of Democrats: "If they believe that this president is going to yield on this particular issue, they're misreading him."

The impasse over government funding began last week, when the Senate approved a bipartisan deal keeping government open into February. That bill provided $1.3 billion for border security projects but not money for the wall. At Trump's urging, the House approved that package and inserted the $5.7 billion he had requested.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York on Saturday said funding for Trump's wall will "never pass the Senate."

"So President Trump, if you want to open the government, you must abandon the wall, plain and simple," Schumer said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is in lockstep with Schumer against the wall funding. If the shutdown continues into 2019, she has vowed that her new Democratic majority will act quickly to pass legislation reopening the government.