Amid a backlash from President Trump’s conservative base over indications he will accede to Democrats’ refusal to fund the border wall, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Thursday the president will not sign a stopgap spending bill, increasing the chances of a government shutdown.
Ryan spoke to reporters after meeting with Trump at the White House, the Hill reported
“The president informed us he will not sign the bill,” Ryan said.
Ryan said the Republican leadership has “very serious concerns about securing our border.”
“The president said, ‘I will not sign this bill.’ So we’re going to go back and work on adding border security to this.”
He did not specify, however, whether that meant funding for the wall.
But after the White House meeting, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the president insists on wall funding.
“We protect nations all over the world, but Democrats are unwilling to protect our nation. We urgently need funding for border security and that includes a wall,” she said.
Trump has requested $5 billion for wall funding.
House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., confirmed to CNN’s Ryan Nobles that House Republicans will add $5 billion in funding for border security and disaster relief to the current continuing resolution.
Nobles tweeted that when Scalise was told there is likely not enough votes for that to pass, the congressman said: “That’s a negative attitude.”
Merry Christmas Democrats, and Happy Valentines’ Day, too
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, which opposes any budget bill without the wall funding, tweeted Wednesday that “punting” the issue with a continuing resolution until Feb. 8, “not only gives Democrats a Christmas present, it offers them a Valentine’s Day gift.”
“Democrats will win, the wall will not be built, and Congress will once again have punted when we should’ve been taking a stand,” he said. “The time to fight is now. Zero excuse.”
Meadows distributed a statement on behalf of the House Freedom Caucus recalling that the president “many months ago said he wouldn’t sign another funding bill unless we gave him wall funding.”
“So what did this House do? It passed a bill to fund the Department of Defense and passed a short-term CR and said, ‘You know what? We’re going to have that fight, but we’re going to have that fight after the midterms,'” Meadows said.
“You know what, Mr. Speaker? It’s after the midterms. And we’re here to say that we’re ready to fight on behalf of all the freedom-loving Americans to make sure we have secure borders. Mr. President, we’re going to back you up. If you veto this bill we’ll be there. But more importantly the American people will be there. They’ll be there to support you. Let’s build the wall and make sure that we do our job in Congress.”