The death of former President George H.W. Bush appears to have delayed the fight on Capitol Hill over funding President Trump’s border wall and trying to prevent a government shutdown.
With Bush’s casket arriving at the Capitol later Monday, GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's office announced there will be no votes in the House this week.
Congress has faced a Dec. 7 deadline to pass a spending package or risk a government shutdown. But the president suggested he is willing to agree with lawmakers to a short-term funding extension, and put off the fight over a longer-term deal until after the services. Sources tell Fox News lawmakers are likely to approve a two-week, stopgap spending plan that would push the deadline to Dec. 21, right before Christmas.
Speaking of members of Congress, Trump told reporters Sunday, “If they come -- which they have -- to talk about an extension because of President Bush’s passing, I would absolutely consider it and probably give it.”
A major battle over funding the government had been expected this week. But Capitol Hill will be filled with visitors paying their respects to Bush, who will be lying in state in the United States Capitol Rotunda until Wednesday.
On Monday morning, Trump publicly pressured Democrats to support the border wall funding, tweeting: "We would save Billions of Dollars if the Democrats would give us the votes to build the Wall. Either way, people will NOT be allowed into our Country illegally! We will close the entire Southern Border if necessary. Also, STOP THE DRUGS!"
But as Bush's casket was being flown from Houston to Andrews Air Force Base later in the day, Trump shifted focus to the ceremonies.
"Looking forward to being with the Bush Family to pay my respects to President George H.W. Bush," he tweeted.
Trump has said he would "totally be willing" to close the government if he doesn’t get $5 billion for his long-promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Last week, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York told reporters that Democrats are willing to agree to $1.6 billion for border security, but not Trump’s figure, saying, “If there is any shutdown, it’s on President Trump’s back.”
The vow from Trump comes amid recent clashes on the border between border agents and caravan migrants. The drama seemingly emboldened Trump in his push for more border security.
Republicans – who lose control of the House in January – view the December standoff over the wall as the last chance to secure its funding. Border wall advocates want a long-term investment in the wall. They fear the money will disappear next year unless they secure it now.