Trump Steps Back Border Wall Demand in Budget Fight

"I never get too attached to one deal or one approach".

Congressional Republicans have little desire to prop up Obamacare.

On Sunday, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said Trump expects his "priorities" - military and border security spending increases - to be included in the budget bill, but focused on the White House's flexibility in arriving at a deal to keep the government open.

"We'd ask him to let us do our work, not throw in some last-minute poison pills that could undo it, and we could get this done", he said.

The government last shut down in 2013 in a fight over Obamacare.

Privately, senior administration officials over the weekend said the pressure to rush for a vote on health care had subsided and that the White House's priorities were realigning with those on Capitol Hill: to pass a budget bill and keep the government open.

"The president is working hard to keep the government open and addressing various issues", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters Monday.

"It's really good news that the president seems to be taking the wall off the table in the negotiations we're having on an appropriations bill this week", Schumer said on the Senate floor on Tuesday morning. President Donald Trump could avert the risk of a government shutdown next. So what does he want?

Trump initially backed away from his promise that Mexico would fully fund his wall by saying taxpayers would foot the bill at first and be reimbursed at a later date.

He reportedly told a private meeting with members of the conservative media on Monday night that he was open to delaying the wall funding until later in the year.

Democrats have been saying that wall funding is a non-starter, with public opinion on their side.

Despite setbacks, Trumpis still touting the long-promised wall that he's said Mexico will pay for in the end. "Of these respondents, 47 percent are strongly against it". But administration officials have continued to demand that lawmakers include money for the wall in the spending bill, and the proposal has emerged as the biggest stumbling block to a budget agreement. It's seen as one of the controversial sticking points that can hold things up, but Trump has cover from some critics.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said it was the primary goal in spending negotiations on Monday.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said in March that he would not vote for a bill that didn't increase military spending above current levels. He told CNN that doing so "destroys the ability of the military to defend this nation, and it puts the lives of the men and women in the military at risk". Trump wrote Monday on Twitter. Blocking wall funding would be a bigger win for them.

Separately, the White House and congressional Republicans are gauging whether a plan to revise the GOP's stalled health care bill would garner enough converts to rekindle hopes for House passage of the legislation.

Congress needs to act by the end of this week to avoid a government shutdown. The administration could drop subsidies to help reduce out-of-pocket costs for low-income Americans, which could destabilize the health-insurance market. "How much of their stuff are they willing to take?" budget director Mick Mulvaney said on Bloomberg Television.

Trump himself waded into the debate on Sunday, tweeting that Obamacare is in trouble.

Democrats have already been turning it back on Trump.

"If the president stepped out of it, we could get a budget done by Friday", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Monday in a conference call with reporters, referring to Democratic and Republican budget negotiators.

  • Salvatore Jensen