President Donald Trump decided Thursday he would not sign the measure passed by the Senate, which would have stopped a government shutdown. The decision came after President Trump said he would not sign a deal that did not include the $5 billion for the border wall.
The Republican-led House approved another package Thursday night with his $5.7 billion border wall request included. That measure now goes to the Senate.
"I've made my position very clear," President Trump said. "Any measure that funds the government must include border security. Not for political purposes but for this country, for their safety."
Senator Doug Jones (D) said senators feel a 'comprehensive immigration plan' is needed.
"I've said all along, there is no one up here, whether they're Democrats or Republicans, who are for open borders, despite what you hear politically," Jones said.
The country is looking at a partial government shutdown Friday. The current plan would provide funding through February 8, after Democrats assume control of the House.
Lawmakers must pass a plan quickly if they want the president to sign before the end of the year. Reports say he is due to leave Friday afternoon for his Mar-a-Lago estate in South Florida.
The White House has refused to say whether he would still travel there if the shutdown occurs. Included in the federal agencies affected would be the Secret Service, whose agents and officers would still work to protect the President and his family, just on an unpaid basis.
"It's just wrong, it is absolutely wrong to put families of American workers, who work for the federal government, put the defense of this country and others at risk over a political issue," Senator Jones said about the impending shutdown.
Senator Jones feels the president should sign the measure, fund the government and spend more time sorting out issues at the border.
"It needs to be done as part of an overall, more comprehensive immigration package and not just a threat," Jones said. "No one likes to have a political gun to their head and that's essentially what the president is doing."
Senator Richard Shelby (R), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, provided WHNT News 19 with this statement about the funding issue:
"Having already funded 75 percent of the government on time with broad bipartisan support, I am disappointed that we could not come to an agreement on the remaining 25 percent," Shelby said. "However, I am committed to keeping the government open and will take the next six weeks to continue working toward that end. The President is right that we must secure our borders. I hope that this continuing resolution will provide us the time to work out our differences in a thoughtful manner and reach a bipartisan consensus on important national priorities."
US Representative Bradley Byrne (R) delivered a speech at the US House of Representatives Thursday in support of providing funding for the proposed border wall.
Here is a portion of the transcript from the speech:
“Mr. Speaker, when did protecting the American people, knowing who is entering our country, and having a secure border become some kind of radical or partisan idea?
“I’m stunned to see the length to which some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will go simply to oppose enhanced border security, including a border wall. In fact, it seems they are willing to shut down the federal government instead of supporting President Trump’s urgent request for $5 billion to fund the border wall.
“What is especially strange is that some of my colleagues on the other side have supported a wall in the past. Some of have even voted in support of a border wall.
“What has changed?
“I think the answer is very simple. I think some of my colleagues are so committed to appeasing the so-called ‘resistance’ that they find themselves opposing a very basic and commonsense idea like border security just because they want to earn points from the most extreme part of their political base.
“This is really not a complicated issue. This is about the safety and security of the American people. This is about keeping terrorists out of our country. This is about keeping illegal drugs out of our country. This is about keeping criminals out of our country. This shouldn’t be hard.
“Why am I so passionate about this? Because this is a critical issue. When I talk to the people I represent back in Alabama, they are passionate about it. This is one of the top issues I hear about at events and town halls throughout Alabama. In fact, the phones in my office have been ringing all day with people urging us to stand strong, secure our borders, and build the wall.
“Mr. Speaker, I think this is a fight worth fighting. I think pushing to ensure the safety of the American people is a worthy and absolutely critical fight.
“So, I urge my colleagues to stop playing to the ‘resistance.’ Come back toward a commonsense idea like securing our border. Pass this amendment, pass this funding bill, and ensure the safety of the American people.”