Trump keeps up pressure on Democrats over border wall

Steve Scalise speaks at Republican National Committee Headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington

J. Scott Applewhite AP FILE

As the country mourns the death of former President George H.W. Bush, Congress is seeking to push back the December 7 budget deadline, which would temporarily stall a contentious debate over border wall funding and likely delay a partial government shutdown.

House leaders canceled roll call votes this week for ceremonies honoring Bush, who died Friday, meaning an extension will be needed to avert a funding lapse.

Most legislation requires 60 votes on the Senate floor, meaning Republicans - who now hold a narrow two-seat majority - will need Democrats to help pass any spending bills.

Central American migrants planning to surrender to US border guards climb over the USA border wall from Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, late Monday, Dec. 3, 2018.

Bush's funeral is planned for Wednesday at the Washington National Cathedral and he will be buried Thursday at his presidential library and museum at Texas A&M University.

The Senate, narrowly controlled by Republicans, would also have to approve the measure this week, which would continue funding for several agencies at last year's levels.

Previously, Trump threatened to force a partial government shutdown if Congress did not give him the money he wants for the wall.

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Trump claimed in a tweet that "We would save Billions of Dollars if the Democrats would give us the votes to build the Wall". The meeting has been tentatively rescheduled for December 11, said a White House official who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Schumer has suggested about $3 billion for the wall - the $1.6 billion already offered along with the remaining $1.3 billion from this fiscal year the administration has not yet spent - and has said the country shouldn't have to endure a shutdown over "Trump's temper tantrum".

Trump said he's likely to sign the short-term CR into law, which would prevent a partial shutdown of operations at the nine Cabinet departments and dozens of smaller agencies still without full-year appropriations.

Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., were scheduled to meet with the president on Tuesday, but that sit down at the White House was postponed until next week.

The Kentucky Republican told reporters over the weekend that it's up to Trump "to do a deal with the Democrats".

"The $1.6 billion ... the language is broader than just a wall, so I think that that could probably be agreed upon, which was a figure in the Senate bill", Hoyer said. Federal funding for those is set to expire at midnight on Friday.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that they could support up to $1.6 billion in border security, not border wall funding, "that was included in a bipartisan Senate bill".

Without action by Congress, federal agencies including the Department of Agriculture, State Department and Department of Homeland Security would find themselves without any money to pay employees and administer programs through the fiscal year that ends next September 30.

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