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Trump: No problem to shut down government

The president’s suggestion puts him at odds with members of his own party in Congress.

Donald Trump has said he would have “no problem” shutting down the federal government this year if congressional legislators do not agree to provide more funding for border security.

The president’s suggestion puts him at odds with members of his own party in Congress, where many Republicans are facing tough re-election fights this November.

Government funding expires at the end of September, weeks before the mid-term elections.

“I would have no problem doing a shutdown,” Mr Trump said during a joint press conference at the White House with Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte. “It’s time we had border security.”

Asked about specific requirements, he said he had no “red line”, adding: “I’ll always leave room for negotiation.”

His comments echoed his unexpected tweets on Sunday saying: “I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!

“Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT!”

He returned to the idea after a meeting at the White House last week with House speaker Paul Ryan and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, where they were said to have agreed on the way forward on government funding for the budget year that starts October 1.

Mr McConnell told a radio interviewer last week that a shutdown so close to the November 6 mid-term elections will not happen, but he acknowledged the border funding issue was unlikely to be resolved before the balloting.

Mr Ryan said after the meeting: “The president’s willing to be patient to make sure that we get what we need so that we can get that done.”

He added that money for the wall was “not a question of if, it’s a question of when”.

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