Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced a short-term spending bill on Wednesday, that would fund the government through February 8, 2019, and avoid a government shutdown later this week. The bill must be approved by both chambers of Congress before reaching President Trump’s desk for his signature.
“The measure will provide the resources necessary to continue normal operations through February the eighth,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. Funding is set to expire on Friday for key Federal agencies.
“I’m glad the leader thinks the government should not shut down over the president’s demand for a wall, and Democrats will support this CR [continuing resolution],” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said shortly after McConnell spoke.
The White House has not yet released an official statement on the funding bill.
After insisting that Mexico would in some way pay for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, President Trump earlier requested that the funding bill appropriate $5 billion of taxpayer money to fund the wall–a request that has not drawn much traction in the Senate.
In recent days, the White House has appeared to have backed down from the $5 billion requirement with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying in a briefing yesterday that the administration had other options to fund construction of a border wall.
According to a report in The Hill newspaper, McConnell’s bill would leave funding for border flat and would push the border wall funding issue into 2019. A GOP offer that provided $1.6 billion for border security and $1 billion for President Trump to spend on other immigration priorities was rejected by Democrats on Tuesday.
In a Wednesday tweet, Trump said that Mexico will indirectly pay for his proposed border wall through the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and that the U.S. military will build the wall.