(CNSNews.com) – As the Senate considers funding legislation that includes money for border security, President Donald Trump said Friday that if Democrats don’t vote to fund a border wall, it will be considered a Democrat shutdown.
If the Senate doesn’t approve a bill that the president is willing to sign by today, the federal government will be partially shutdown after midnight Friday.
Trump met Friday with Republican Senate leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). He said there was great enthusiasm in the House of Representatives, which approved a continuing resolution that included $5.7 billion for the wall.
“The other night as you know, we had a vote on border security, and I think we want to discuss this just for a second, but the House of Representatives voted 217 to 185 approving strong border security and the money necessary to take care of the barrier wall or steel slats, whatever you want to call it. It’s all the same, and it was a tremendous evening for the Republicans to be honest with you, because the level of spirit, the level of happiness. A lot of people came out,” he said at a White House signing ceremony for the criminal justice reform bill.
“And now the Senate is looking at it. We just had a meeting with some of our great senator Republicans, and lasted for a long time. Tremendous enthusiasm for border security. I think I can speak for them very strongly when I say they want to see something happen on border security. They want the security of safety. They want safety for our country,” Trump said.
“So we need border security, and the Republicans in the Senate as you know are taking it up today, and it’s really up to the Democrats, totally up to the Democrats as to whether or not we have a shutdown. It’s possible that we’ll have a shutdown. I would say the chances are probably very good, ‘cause I don’t think Democrats care so much about maybe this issue, but this is a very big issue. It’s an issue of crime. It’s an issue of safety. It’s an issue of least importantly dollars,” he said, adding that the U.S. spends $285 billion a year on illegal immigration.
The president said the wall pay for itself “on a monthly basis” and compared the $5 billion he’s asking for to the amount of taxpayer money already approved for the military spending.
“I mean literally every month it pays for itself. So we’re talking about small amounts of money. Think of it. We approved - and we got good Democrat support - military last year $700 billion, recently $716 billion for the military, and here we’re talking about $5 billion, so it’s a tiny fraction, but unfortunately, they’ve devoted their lives to making sure it doesn’t happen, and that wasn’t for what should happen. That was for political reasons, so we are going to be working very hard to get something passed in the Senate,” he said.
“There’s a very good chance it won’t get passed. It’s up to the Democrats, so it’s really the Democrat shutdown, cause we’ve done our thing. When Nancy Pelosi said, ‘You’ll never get the votes in the House,’ we got em, and we got em by a big margin – 217 to 185. So now it’s up to the Democrats as to whether or not we have a shutdown tonight. I hope we don’t but we’re totally prepared for a very long shutdown, and this is our only chance that we’ll ever have in our opinion, because of the world and the way it breaks out to get great border security,” Trump said.
The president said former President Ronald Reagan tried unsuccessfully to get funding for a border wall years ago.
“Ronald Reagan tried many years ago. Got a note from a member of his family. Many years ago tried to get a wall, and he fought for a long time during his entire term. He was never able to get a wall, and I consider him to be a great president. He knew what he was doing,” Trump said.
“We are going to one way or the other, we’re going to get a wall. We’re going to get a barrier. We’re going to get anything you want to name it. You can name it anything you want, but we cannot let what’s been going on in this country over the last 10 years. We just can’t let it happen,” he said.
The president turned his attention to the signing of the criminal justice bill, the “First Step Act.” The bill received “incredible bipartisan support,” he said.
“Everybody said it couldn’t be done. They said the conservatives won’t approve it. They said the liberals won’t approve it. They said nobody’s going to approve it, everybody’s going to be against it. It’s been many, many years, numerous decades, and nobody came close, and I just want to thank all of the people standing behind me.
He also thanked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for their role in approving the measure.
“We passed this in the Senate 87 to 12. That’s unheard of, and the one person that missed the vote was actually in Afghanistan doing a very good job,” the president said.