President Donald Trump will only accept $5 billion of border wall funding in a must-pass spending bill due next week, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said after a meeting with the president.
That is the amount needed to “properly secure the border,” the Louisiana Republican said outside the West Wing, reiterating GOP senators’ contention that the President will accept nothing less than $5 billion.
“The president has been very clear that he needs $5 billion to properly secure the border,” he said. “It’s not just some theoretical conversation.”
Scalise did not directly answer a question about whether Trump might accept the $5 billion in a $2.5 billion fiscal 2019 allotment and another of the same size the following fiscal year.
“There are negotiations and final steps that hopefully will be resolved,” Scalise said. “There’s a way to get this resolved and get the president the $5 billion.”
He did not elaborate on what that “way” might look like as a Dec. 7 deadline approaches, especially since the Senate earlier this year passed a Homeland Security funding bill that included $1.6 billion for the border barrier project.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., first floated the notion of splitting a $5 billion allotment between the current and next fiscal years earlier Tuesday.
“He said he would veto $1.6 [billion], so I take him at his word,” Shelby said.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said Democrats stance has not changed since the chamber passed the $1.6 billion amount earlier this year.
The impasse could trigger a partial government shutdown in the middle of the holiday season.
The border spending fight was only one issue House GOP leaders discussed with the president.
The group also talked about “legislative priorities including the California wildfire, the farm bill, the great need for border security at this crucial time, prison reform, the next fiscal year budget, and the GM plant closure,” a White House deputy press secretary said in a statement.
Jennifer Shutt contributed to this report.