President Donald Trump pinned the blame for a looming government shutdown on Democrats, despite Republican controlling both chambers of Congress.
President Donald Trump said Wednesday that a government shutdown "could happen," two days before the deadline to pass a funding bill.
Trump said the main threat to a shutdown is Democrats' insistence on the inclusion of legislation to codify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as part of the funding bill.
"The Democrats are really looking at something that is very dangerous for our country," Trump said during a Cabinet meeting at the White House. "They are looking at shutting down. They want to have illegal immigrants, in many cases people that we don't want in our country — they want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bring with them crime, tremendous amounts of drugs. We don't want to have that."
The DACA program does not allow new immigrants to enter the country, but rather protects from deportation certain unauthorized immigrants brought to the US as minors.
Republicans control both chambers of Congress. If the government shuts down, it would be the first time in roughly 40 years that happened when one party controlled both parts of Congress. Democrats could block any funding legislation in the Senate, however.
GOP leadership's plan is to pass a short-term funding bill to extend the shutdown deadline to December 22. This would provide more time to negotiate with Democrats on a deal.
While Trump pegs the threat of a shutdown on Democrats, House Republican leaders are dealing with a bigger problem from their own caucus.
The hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus wants to extend the deadline to December 30 instead to ease the pressure before the Christmas break, which Freedom Caucus leaders say will get GOP members to accept a bad deal.
The Freedom Caucus on Wednesday seemed to ease off those demands, but the caucus should continue to be a thorn in the side of leadership through the various deadlines.
Trump in September ended the DACA immigration program, an Obama-era policy that protects from immigration certain unauthorized immigrants that arrived as minors from deportation, giving Congress a six-month deadline to act.
Democrats have prioritized adding DACA legislation to the funding bill, but many Republicans have bristled at the option.
Congressional leaders from both parties and Trump are set to meet at the White House on Thursday to work on a way forward.