As the country mourns the death of former President George H.W. Bush, Congress is seeking to push back the Dec. 7 budget deadline, which would temporarily stall a contentious debate over border wall funding and likely delay a partial government shutdown.
President Donald Trump has threatened to veto a bill extending funding for some government agencies if he doesn’t get $5 billion to build his U.S.-Mexico border wall. If the bill isn’t passed Friday, a partial government shutdown would take effect.
But the death of the 41st president last week prompted lawmakers to push for a deadline extension as Washington will be focused on memorial services throughout the week.
Bush’s funeral is planned for Wednesday at the Washington National Cathedral and he will be buried Thursday at his presidential library and museum at Texas A&M University.
Trump declared Wednesday a national day of mourning and said he’s open to extending the budget funding as much as two weeks if members of Congress requested it.
“If they come to talk about an extension because of President Bush’s passing, I would absolutely consider it and probably give it,” the president told reporters aboard Air Force One on Saturday.
Trump, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had been scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss the spending showdown. But the meeting has been put on hold given Bush’s memorial services, reported Politico and CNBC.
Democrats have long held off on giving into Trump’s demand for funding to build his border wall, which he promised Mexico would pay for throughout his 2016 presidential campaign.
Congressional Republicans have floated the idea of allocating $2.5 billion in this year’s budget and another $2.5 billion next year as a so-called compromise, but Democratic lawmakers have so far refused.