Trump: ‘Chances are probably very good’ government shuts down at midnight

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President Donald Trump predicted there likely will be a government shutdown Friday night and put the onus on Democrats — a reversal from his position just a week ago, when he said he would “take the mantle” and not blame the opposing party.

“The chances are probably very good” that there is a shutdown, Trump said to reporters Friday afternoon while at a White House bill signing on bipartisan legislation overhauling the nation’s sentencing laws.

At the same time, the Senate is voting to see if there’s enough support to advance a stop-gap spending bill with an additional $5 billion for Trump’s signature campaign promise of a border wall, as Washington inches closer to a partial government shutdown when funding expires for key federal agencies at midnight Friday night.

Funding for roughly a quarter of the federal government expires at midnight, including appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other parts of the government.

Trump has ratcheted up his rhetoric over the past 24 hours to suggest that he is unwilling to accept anything less than $5 billion for his long-promised border wall. But the $5 billion border wall bill’s failure in the Senate shows the votes aren’t there on the Hill to meet the President’s demand.

“It’s really the Democrat shutdown, because we’ve done our thing,” Trump said Friday. “Now it’s up to the Democrats as to whether we have a shutdown tonight. I hope we don’t, but we’re totally prepared for a very long shutdown.”

Just a week ago, the President — sitting in the Oval Office with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — said he would be “proud” to shut down the government over border security.

“I will take the mantle,” Trump said last week. “I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”

Senate voting after White House meeting

The bill is expected to fail in the Senate, where Democrats have long made clear they would not support new money for the border wall. The question now is what happens next and whether the President and lawmakers can come to an agreement to stave off a partial shutdown. For now, the prospects for a deal look bleak.

As of 1:30 p.m. ET on Friday, the vote remained open as many lawmakers who had left Washington were flying back to the Capitol.

Earlier Friday, Trump hosted Senate Republicans to the White House on Friday morning for discussions about the looming shutdown threat, though it was not apparent if any progress had been made during that meeting. Senate Majority Leader McConnell, upon returning to Capitol Hill from his meeting in the White House, said GOP Senators had a “good conversation” with Trump and that “we are going to continue to be talking about a way forward”.

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