Trump Opposes Short-Term Funding to Avoid Shutdown, Source Says

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump isn’t inclined to support a one- or two-week stopgap spending measure that would avert a partial government shutdown over the holidays, according to a person familiar with White House planning.

The hardening of the White House position increases the difficulty lawmakers face in finding a solution before government funding expires on Friday night for nine government departments and various independent agencies.

One major sticking point remains: Trump’s demand for $5 billion to build a wall at the border with Mexico. Democrats insist on spending no more than $1.37 billion on border fencing, and the president said last week he would be “proud” to shut the government if it will force them to give in to his demands.

Spending discussions have stalled, with no talks between Trump and Democrats since Tuesday. Republican lawmakers haven’t come up with a plan, and haven’t sought to advance legislation that would fund the government or Trump’s border wall.

"Anytime you hear a Democrat saying that you can have good Border Security without a Wall, write them off as just another politician following the party line,” Trump tweeted Monday. “Time for us to save billions of dollars a year and have, at the same time, far greater safety and control!"

Six of 15 government departments -- representing about three-quarters of discretionary spending -- are funded through Sept. 30, 2019, under legislation passed and signed by Trump earlier this year. A short-term stopgap funding bill would provide lawmakers more time to negotiate over the wall and funding the remaining agencies, potentially lasting until Democrats take control of the House on Jan 3.

"President Trump should understand. There are not the votes for the wall," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” "And we should not let a temper tantrum, threats, push us in the direction in doing something that everybody, even our Republican colleagues, know is wrong."

Amid the standoff, the administration is focusing its efforts on legislation that would provide long-term funding for key government agencies and departments, including Homeland Security, Treasury, Justice and Interior, according to the person.

A one or two-week fix is also not being discussed on Capitol Hill, according to a senior GOP congressional aide. Republicans’ position on a short-term measure may change if the funding deadline approaches with no deal at hand.

The Trump administration has begun taking steps to prepare for a possible shutdown. The Office of Management and Budget held a conference call with federal agencies impacted by the shutdown on Friday afternoon to prepare for a possible funding lapse.

House Republican leaders, facing absences from rank-and-file members defeated in the midterm elections, have instructed lawmakers to remain home until late Wednesday, just two days before the Dec. 21 deadline. The Senate returns to Washington on Monday.

If there were a shutdown, Congress and the White House would be under pressure to stay in Washington to resolve it instead of leaving for the holidays. Trump is expected to go to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, for more than two weeks starting Friday.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.