President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to shut down the federal government over funding for his long-promised wall between the US and Mexico.
“We are building a wall on the southern border which is absolutely necessary,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Phoenix to encouraging chants from the crowd. “Build that wall. Now the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it, but believe me, if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.”
But there’s little appetite in Congress for grinding government to a halt.
“I don’t think a government shutdown’s necessary, and I don’t think most people want to see a government shutdown, ourselves included,” Speaker Paul Ryan said at an Oregon press conference on Wednesday, adding that doing so would not be "in our interest."
Ryan also said it wasn't necessary to choose between border security and keeping government running.
“I don't think anyone wants a shutdown,” a senior House GOP aide told BuzzFeed News when asked whether there is any congressional interest in a government shutdown over the wall at this point.
Another GOP aide, answering the same question, responded simply, “no.”
Republicans hold both chambers of Congress, making them politically liable if they aren’t able to strike a deal with Democrats to keep government running this fall, once funding runs out at the end of September. Republicans, particularly members of congressional leadership, have been largely silent on the matter since Tuesday night’s rally. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not immediately comment on the potential for a shutdown.
Meanwhile, Democrats, who Trump was aiming his message at, have wholeheartedly responded to his threat.
“President Trump’s multi-billion dollar border wall boondoggle is strongly opposed by Democrats and many Republicans,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “Democrats will stand fast against the immoral, ineffective border wall and the rest of Republicans’ unacceptable poison pill riders.”
Trump first promised to build a wall in his campaign announcement speech in 2015. He has long promised to make Mexico pay for a southern border wall, but the country’s leaders have made clear they have no interest in funding the project.