President Trump is playing hardball.
The president on Tuesday said he would “love to see a shutdown” if Democrats don’t work toward compromise legislation on immigration and border security, NBC reported.
Trump’s comments came at a White House round table with law enforcement on Tuesday afternoon.
“I’d love to see a shutdown if we can’t get this stuff taken care of,” he said in reference to immigration. “If we have to shut it down because the Democrats don’t want safety … let’s shut it down.”
Congress has until midnight on Thursday, Feb. 8, to pass a spending bill or the government will shut down again.
Also on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., met with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to work out a long-term spending measure that would keep the government funded for the next two years.
“Senator Schumer and I had a good meeting this morning about a caps deal and the other issues we’ve been discussing for some months now. I’m optimistic that very soon we’ll be able to reach an agreement,” McConnell said of the meeting.
The legislation being negotiated by Schumer and McConnell reportedly does not tackle the issue of immigration, over which Democrats shut down the government last month.
Since then, Trump has extended an immigration compromise with Democrats, going far beyond the “Dreamers” they want to protect and offering to provide a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal aliens.
In exchange, the president would expect funding for a border wall, cuts to chain migration, the elimination of the visa lottery program, and enhanced border security.
Democrats have thus far not been willing to take Trump up on the deal.
One Republican present at the White House round table, Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock, disagreed with the president about provoking a government shutdown.
“We don’t need a shutdown over this,” she told him.
On Tuesday night, the House passed a six-week spending bill that would boost military funding by $65 billion for the rest of the fiscal year.
“I urge the Senate Democrats to stop their filibuster and provide our men and women in uniform the resources they need, the support they need,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
But the House bill has little chance in the Senate, where a slim Republican majority means Democrat support is needed for any bill to pass.
Democrats object to increased military spending without an equal increase in domestic spending.
“House Republicans continue marching down a very partisan road,” Schumer said, arguing that the House bill “will raise defense spending but leave everything else behind.”
“We support an increase in funding for our military and our middle class. The two are not mutually exclusive. We don’t want to do just one and leave the other behind,” he concluded.
Trump is warning Democrats: their tantrums won’t get them far as long as he is sitting in the Oval Office.