President Donald Trump threatened to close the U.S. southern border with Mexico on Friday if Congress does not pass a bill that appropriates funding for the construction of a border wall as the federal government enters its seventh day with a partial shutdown.
“We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with,” Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning.
“We build a Wall or close the Southern Border,” Trump added.
The federal government entered the partial shutdown at midnight last Friday impacting about a quarter of federal government agencies and several hundred-thousand employees after Congress failed to fully pass a continuing resolution (CR) that would keep the government fully funded into February.
The issue at hand was $5.7 billion the U.S. House of Representatives passed in its version of the CR last week on Thursday for border wall funding but stalled in the U.S. Senate after it failed to gain enough support from at least 60 Senators to pass.
President Trump informed members of his party last week that he would not sign a bill that did not include the border wall funding measure. Democrats in both Congressional chambers have so far refused to vote for any bill that includes border wall construction funding.
Instead they have offered the president $1.3 billion for general border security but no wall construction as a compromise.
The debate over the spending bill and the partial government shutdown will likely be extended into 2019 after the new Congress goes in session on Jan. 3 and Democrats take control of the House with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D. CA, expecting to become the next Speaker of the House.
Democrats with Pelosi in charge are preparing to vote on a bill that reopens the 9 agencies closed as a result of the partial shutdown with no border wall construction funding on the first day Congress convenes in the New Year.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders criticized Pelosi and her party for not wanting to support border wall funding during a Friday interview on CBS.
“Nancy Pelosi is only looking to protect her speakership but not protect our borders and that’s why she’s unwilling to negotiate with us and unwilling to make any type of a deal and unwilling to help do what is necessary,” Sanders said on CBS’s “This Morning” on Friday.
In additional tweets on Friday concerning the border wall, President Trump threatened trade with Mexico and threatened to cut off aid to several Central American countries.
“Bring our car industry back into the United States where it belongs,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Friday. “Go back to pre-NAFTA, before so many of our companies and jobs were so foolishly sent to Mexico.”
“Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are doing nothing for the United States but taking our money,” Trump added. “Word is that a new Caravan is forming in Honduras and they are doing nothing about it. We will be cutting off all aid to these 3 countries - taking advantage of U.S. for years!”