President blames Democrats for wanting ‘illegal immigrants’ who are ‘bringing with them … tremendous amounts of crime’
President Donald Trump on Wednesday warned a U.S. government shutdown “could happen” as early as this weekend if Congress fails to pass a shot-term spending bill.
Speaking during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, Trump blamed Democrats for blocking talks on the bill with demands related to an immigration issue.
"It could happen," Trump said about the chances of a shutdown.
"The Democrats are really looking at something that could be very dangerous for our country.
"They are looking at shutting down. They want to have illegal immigrants -- in many cases, people that we do not want in our country -- they want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bringing with them crime -- tremendous amounts of crime," he added.
The spending bill is a package that contains smaller regular appropriations bills which could be passed with only one vote in each house.
There are 12 different regular appropriations bills that need to be passed each year to fund federal departments and avoid a shutdown.
Some senior Democrats said they would vote against a spending bill if Congress does not address nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants who may lose their ability to live and work in the U.S. due to Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) in September.
DACA was an American immigration policy that allowed some individuals who illegally entered the country as minors to live and work with a special work permit.
But the White House last week said it does not want the immigration plan sought by Democrats to be included in any spending bill.
Compounding the difficulties faced by lawmakers seeking to avert a shutdown are efforts to include a removal on military spending caps and extensions of federal payments for critical health care subsidies Trump scrapped in October.
Congress has until midnight Friday to approve the spending bill to keep the government open.
The last government shutdown lasted two weeks in 2013 and cost the U.S. billions of dollars each day.