Congress to push stop-gap funding bill with no border wall money

The White House on Sunday, Dec. 16, pushed the federal government closer to the brink of a partial shutdown later this week, digging in on its demand for $5 billion to build a border wall as congressional Democrats stood firm against it.

Despite aides signaling an impending concession on the border wall, the President outwardly insisted Wednesday that the wall will be built "one way or the other".

If an agreement isn't reached between the president and lawmakers by Friday, Congress can pass an emergency continuing resolution to keep all federal agencies up and running.

While Trump has not said that he would sign such a measure, White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway signalled on Wednesday (Thursday NZT) that he may consider it, saying "he'll take a look at that certainly". The money would not go for the wall but for fencing upgrades and other border security.

"If I were in her shoes, I would rather not be dealing with this year's business next year", McConnell said. "It seems like political spite for the president may be winning out over sensible policy".

"We want smart, effective border security", Schumer said.

President Donald Trump (R) argues about border security with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as Vice President Mike Pence (C) sits nearby in the Oval Office on December 11 in Washington, D.C. During the meeting, Trump said he would be "proud" to shutdown the government over border security.

More than 800,000 government workers are facing the prospect of being furloughed or sent to work without pay beginning at midnight Friday, disrupting government operations days before Christmas. "That's why we will soon take up a simple measure that will continue government funding into February: So we can continue this vital debate after the new Congress has convened".

Trump postponed the summer fight over the border wall when he signed a short-term spending bill in September, but the issue has resurfaced and the same disagreements that were laid bare in that August meeting still exist.

Fox & Friends hosts commented on the "stunning turn of events" as Donald Trump appears to be backing off his demands for $5 billion in border wall funding amid a potential government shutdown.

But that has a big catch: the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to determine how taxpayer funds are spent, meaning lawmakers - including a Democratic-controlled House Appropriations Committee come January - would have to approve what's called a "reprogramming" request to repurpose funds allocated for other things.

The standoff dispute could affect nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks and forests.

Congress did pass legislation to fund much of the government through the fiscal year, until October 1.

Many agencies, including the Pentagon and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, are covered for the year and would continue to operate as usual.