With less than 36 hours before a partial government shutdown would begin, House Speaker Paul Ryan emerged on Thursday from a meeting with President Donald Trump and other House Republicans to tell reporters that the president “will not sign” the short-term spending bill passed by the Senate Wednesday night because it did not include border security money or funding for Trump’s long-promised border wall.
“The president has informed us he will not sign the bill that came down from the Senate,” Ryan said, standing next to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy outside the White House. Ryan said that he and House GOP leaders would head back to Capitol Hill to “work on adding border security” to the bill. In an amended version of the Senate’s spending bill filed later that afternoon, the House allocated more than $5.7 billion for the wall.
The Senate’s short-term spending bill passed late Wednesday night and would fund the government through February 8, but it did not include money for the wall.
Ryan and McCarthy told reporters they believed there was still time to work out a deal that Congress would pass and the president would sign before the clock hit midnight on Friday.
Trump had previously demanded $5 billion of additional funding for the wall. In recent days, the White House appeared to back down from that demand, suggesting the president would support a measure that did not provide wall funding in order to keep the government going. Democrats, especially House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have said on numerous occasions that they would support funding for enhanced border security but not the wall.
The messages Ryan, other House Republicans and the White House provided to reporters were mixed on Thursday morning. Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus ramped up their pressure on the president to veto the Senate spending bill, should it be passed by the House and arrive on Trump’s desk. They also indicated they would vote against any spending bill that did not include funding for the wall, but it was not clear whether they had enough votes to block it.
After a reported call with Ryan Thursday morning, Trump issued a tweet, saying he “was promised the Wall and Border Security by leadership. Would be done by end of year (NOW). It didn’t happen! We foolishly fight for Border Security for other countries – but not for our beloved U.S.A. Not good!” he added.
Moments later, Ryan canceled a scheduled press conference. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said soon after that House GOP members would meet with Trump.
The president is set to leave Washington for Mar-a-Lago, dubbed the “Winter White House, on Friday, leaving little time to work out a deal that he would sign before departing for Florida.
After meeting with Ryan and McCarthy, Sanders said in a statement that “we urgently need funding for border security, and that includes a wall.”
“Not surprisingly, they all feel strongly about border security—stopping the flow of drugs, stopping human trafficking and stopping terrorism,” Sanders said. “We protect nations all over the world, but Democrats are unwilling to protect our nation.”
Update: This story has been updated to include the House’s revised spending bill that allocates $5.7 billion for the border wall.