WASHINGTON (Reuters): US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he would allow the Federal Government to shut down if Democrats do not fund his border wall and back immigration law changes, betting that maintaining a hard line will work in Republicans’ favour in November congressional elections.
However, a disruption in federal government operations could backfire on Trump if voters blame Republicans, who control Congress, for the interruption in services.
“I would be willing to ‘shut down’ the Government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for border security, which includes the Wall! Must get rid of Lottery, Catch and Release, etc., and finally go to system of immigration based on MERIT! We need great people coming into our country!” Trump said on Twitter.
Americans are divided along party lines on immigration, and 81% of Republicans approved Trump’s handling of the issue, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released this month.
The Republican President has threatened a shutdown several times since taking office in 2017 in a bid to get immigration priorities in congressional spending bills, especially funding for a wall along the southern US border. Trump has asked for $ 25 billion to build the wall.
“I don’t think it would be helpful, so let’s try to avoid it,” Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee Republican Senator Ron Johnson said on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation’.
Congress must agree on a spending measure to fund the Government by a 30 September deadline.Although Republicans control both the US Senate and House of Representatives, disagreements between moderates and conservatives in the party have impeded a speedy legislative fix.
Standoffs over spending levels and immigration led to a three-day government shutdown, mostly over a weekend, in January and an hours-long shutdown in February.
The House in June rejected an immigration bill favoured by conservative Republicans.