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World
29 Aug 2017

Border wall funding: What are Trump's options with the Congress?

Border wall: Will Trump shut down US government?

The US Congress has shown no signs of approving funding for the proposed Mexico border wall before the October 1 deadline; President Trump may have a tough choice ahead of him.

Addressing a rally at Arizona recently, Trump had vowed to move ahead with constructing the wall along the US-Mexico border, even if he has to shut down the US government.

What are Trump's options?

In context

Border wall: Will Trump shut down US government?

Trump's border wall

Trump proposed to build "impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful", southern border wall at the US-Mexico border, to keep illegal immigrants out. Congress has so far refused to fund the construction of the wall which is estimated to cost $22 billion.

Option 1

Will Trump close down the government?

Addressing supporters at the 'Make America Great Again' rally in Phoenix, Arizona, President Donald Trump noted that he will build a border wall, even if he has to close down the US government.

According to political observers, Trump is likely to call for a shut down of the government in a scenario where the Congress cannot agree on funding the wall under the legislation.

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Option 2

Will Trump risk going back on his campaign promise?

Building a wall along the US-Mexico border, financed by Mexico itself, was one of Trump's key campaign pitches.

If Congress sends in a spending bill with no mention on the wall, Trump could just sign it quietly.

This means that Trump would have to backtrack on his campaign promise, and face a situation similar to his failure to repeal Obamacare; this seems unlikely.

Could there be a short-term fix?

Option 3

Could there be a short-term fix?

If Trump wishes to avoid extreme measures, he may sign a short-term extension allowing time for the Congress to deliberate further on funding the wall.

Such a measure would keep the government running, while allowing time till around December 2017, to thrash out a workable deal for both the President and the Congress.

Conclusion

What could happen?

The Congress is unlikely to agree on funding Trump's border wall, especially in the context where Democrats are strongly against it.

Even if all the Republicans back the proposal, at least 8 Democrat votes will be needed in the Senate; this seems unlikely.

Moreover, Trump is unlikely to back down to the Congress without a fight, increasing the likelihood of a much-dreaded governmental shutdown.

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