White House: We Don't Want to Shut Down the Government, We Want to Shut Down the Border

December 18, 2018

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggested Tuesday the Trump administration wouldn't force a partial government shutdown over funding for its long-promised border wall.

Speaking with Fox News, Sanders said there were other ways to attain the $5 billion it wants to build the wall, which President Donald Trump previously said Mexico would pay for and was a cornerstone of his successful 2016 campaign.

In a contentious meeting last week with Democratic congressional leaders Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Trump said he would be proud to have a government shutdown over border security if he didn't get the funding he wanted. But Sanders sounded different on Fox News on Tuesday, after she was asked by host Bill Hemmer if the administration would accept $2.5 billion from Congress in a continuing resolution to keep the government funded.

"We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion that we will work with Congress if they will make sure that we get a bill passed that provides not just the funding for the wall, but there is a piece of legislation that's been pushed around that Democrats actually voted 26-5 out of committee that provides roughly $26 billion in border security, including $1.6 billion for the wall," she said. "That's something that we would be able to support as long as we can couple that with other funding resources to get to the $5 billion."

"At the end of the day we don’t want to shut down the government. We want to shut down the border from illegal immigration, from drugs coming into this country," Sanders added.

Schumer said Sunday that Trump was not going to get the wall in any form, while White House policy adviser Stephen Miller said Trump was "absolutely" willing to shut down the government if Congress didn't give him the appropriations he wanted by Friday's deadline.