The fight between the US Congress and President Donald Trump over funding the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border has deepened, threatening a partial government shutdown in a standoff that has become increasingly common in Washington.

US lawmakers were scrambling Monday to avert a shutdown, with Republican and Democratic leaders locked in a stalemate over Trump’s demands for border wall funding.

A partial shutdown that could occur at midnight Friday risks disrupting government operations and leaving hundreds of thousands of federal employees furloughed or working without pay over the holiday season. Costs would be likely in the billions of dollars.

Congress used to pass annual appropriation bills, and the president signed them into law. But the shutdown scenario has become routine in recent years, leading Congress and the White House to a crisis over government funding.


The president is insisting on $5 billion for the wall along the southern border with Mexico, but he does not have the votes from the Republican-led Congress to support it.

Democrats are offering to continue funding at current levels, $1.3 billion, not for the wall but for fencing and other border security.

It’s unclear how many Republicans in the House of Representatives will even show up mid-week for possible votes. Republicans will relinquish their majority to Democrats in the lower chamber of Congress from January 3.

Republicans say it’s up to Trump and Democrats to cut a deal.

PressTV-Trump isolated in battle over shutdownTrump said last week he would be “proud” to have a partial shutdown to get Congress to support funding for his proposed border wall.

Meanwhile more than 800,000 government workers are preparing for a partial shutdown. The dispute could affect nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks and forests.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent stands while keeping watch along the U.S. and Mexico border in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. The Trump administration outlined a sweeping crackdown on undocumented immigrants Tuesday, pledging to hire 15,000 more border patrol and immigration agents and to begin building a wall on the Mexican border to enact executive orders signed by the president on Jan. 25.

About half the workers would be forced to continue working without immediate pay. Others would be sent home.

Trump said last week he would be “proud” to have a shutdown to get Congress to approve a $5 billion down payment to fulfill his campaign promise to build a border wall.

During his 2016 election campaign, Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexico has refused.


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