White House budget director Mick Mulvaney declined to say Sunday whether President Trump will insist Congress include money for his border wall in a spending bill or risk a government shutdown later this week.
“We don’t know yet,” Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I’m not going to negotiate with you on national television. We will negotiate with the Democrats.”
Congress has until Friday to pass the spending measure to keep the federal government from technically running out of money, which would result in a shutdown of non-essential services.
Mulvaney reiterated Sunday that one of Trump’s biggest presidential campaign platforms was national security, which included building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I don’t think anyone thinks a shutdown is desirable,” Mulvaney said.
However, he wouldn’t say whether Trump would risk a politically unpopular shutdown to get his way. And he suggested that Democrats would be to blame because of their demands on an ObamaCare overhaul plan in exchange for border wall funding in the measure.
“We are asking for our priorities,” Mulvaney told Fox News. “I would say is that they’re holding hostage national security. Again, something they’ve supported in the recent past when President Obama was in the Senate. So we don’t understand why this is breaking down like this.”
Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly suggested earlier Sunday on CNN that Trump would “insist” on the border wall funding.
Mulvaney also said Sunday that members of Congress, returning Monday from a roughly two-week recess, are working on the spending measure “as we speak” and that members could pass it and a revised ObamaCare overhaul plan within the next seven days.
“We don’t see any structural reason the House and Senate cannot do both things in a week,” he said.
Trump signing a major bill like ObamaCare repeal and replace into law within his first 100 days of office, which ends this week, would be a major victory for the president.
Trump tweeted several times Sunday about the issue, saying Democrats don't want budget money paying for the wall "despite the fact it will stop drugs and very bad MS-13 gang members."
Muvaney also said Sunday that if House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has the votes in the GOP-controlled chamber, Ryan will hold a vote.
However, Ryan continues to say that passing a budget is the top priority this week.