World

Congress unlikely to fund wall despite threat

WASHINGTON US President Donald Trump is unlikely to win congressional support for funds for a proposed Mexico border wall before an Oct 1 deadline, meaning he may have to choose between backing down on a key campaign promise or shutting down the government.

The second option was a politically dangerous one before Hurricane Harvey tore through southern Texas, and it looks even riskier now.

At a rally last week, Mr Trump doubled down on his demands, adding the threat that the wall will be built even "if we have to close down our government".

A government shutdown will result if Congress is unable to agree on a spending deal or if Mr Trump vetoes it. A veto would put him in a risky position of rejecting a Bill approved by his party.

"Shutting down the government would be a self-destructive act, not to mention an act of political malpractice," Republican Representative Charlie Dent said in an interview.

Republicans control the House of Representatives but have only a narrow majority in the Senate, where at least eight Democratic votes will be needed to pass a spending Bill. Democrats oppose the wall and appear to be in no mood to do Mr Trump a favour by including funding now.

"Democrats aren't feeling the heat over this," Democratic strategist Jim Manley said, adding "no Democrat is going to be cowed" by Mr Trump's threat. - REUTERS

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