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Ryan Says Trump Will Not Sign Senate's Short-Term Spending Bill


Increasing the risk of a partial government shutdown, President Donald Trump is purportedly unwilling to sign a short-term spending bill approved by the Senate.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters about Trump's refusal to sign the bill on Thursday after a White House meeting between the president and House Republicans.

"The president informed us he will not sign the bill that came from the Senate last evening because of his legitimate concerns for border security," Ryan said. "So what we're going to do is go back to the House and work with our members."

The Senate bill passed by a voice vote Wednesday night would fund key government agencies through February 8th but pushes a debate over funding for Trump's controversial border wall into the next Congress.

Trump expressed skepticism in a post on Twitter earlier on Thursday, suggesting Republican leaders have not followed through on previous promises to address border security.

"When I begrudgingly signed the Omnibus Bill, I was promised the Wall and Border Security by leadership. Would be done by end of year (NOW). It didn't happen!" Trump tweeted.

The president added, "We foolishly fight for Border Security for other countries - but not for our beloved U.S.A. Not good!"

Trump's apparent unwillingness to sign the Senate bill comes as lawmakers face a December 21st deadline to fund key government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and the Interior Department.

The short-term spending bill passed by the Senate faced some opposition from more conservative Republicans in the House but was still expected to be approved.

While Trump has repeatedly demanded $5 billion for construction of the border wall, Senate Democrats have only been willing to provide $1.6 billion for border security in a government spending bill.

In remarks on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., noted Democrats turned down an offer that would provide $1 billion more in border security spending than Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's, D-N.Y., proposal.

McConnell sought to blame the threat of a shutdown on "Democrats' allergy to sensible immigration policies," although Trump previously took ownership of a potential shutdown.

"If we don't get what we want, one way or the other," Trump said during a meeting with Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., last week, "I will shut down the government, absolutely."

Trump stated he would be "proud to shut down the government for border security," an issue that helped propel him to the White House.

A recent Quinnipiac University National Poll found that 62 percent of voters oppose shutting down the government over differences about funding for the border wall compared to just 34 percent that support a shutdown over the wall.

Fifty-nine percent of Republicans support shutting down the government over the wall but are the only listed party, gender, education, age or racial group supporting a shutdown.

If there is a shutdown, 51 percent of voters would blame Trump and Republicans in Congress more, while 37 percent would blame Democrats in Congress more.

Trump insisted throughout his presidential campaign that the border wall would be paid for by Mexico and has recently suggested the cost of the wall will be offset by a new U.S. trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.

"Mexico is paying (indirectly) for the Wall through the new USMCA, the replacement for NAFTA! Far more money coming to the U.S." Trump said in a post on Twitter on Wednesday.

He added, "Because of the tremendous dangers at the Border, including large scale criminal and drug inflow, the United States Military will build the Wall!"

White House officials have had difficulty backing up Trump's claims about the impact of the trade agreement but have suggested the president can go around Democratic lawmakers in order to fund construction of the wall.

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