(WASHINGTON) — White House budget director Mick Mulvaney says that Democratic negotiators on a massive spending bill need to agree to funding top priorities of President Donald Trump such as a down payment on a border wall and hiring of additional immigration agents.
Mulvaney told The Associated Press in an interview that “elections have consequences” and that “we want wall funding” as part of the catchall spending bill, which lawmakers hope to unveil next week.
The former GOP congressman from South Carolina also said that the administration is open, though undecided, about a key Democratic demand that the measure pay for cost-sharing payments to insurance companies that help low-income people afford health policies under the Affordable Care Act.
The $1 trillion-plus legislation is leftover business from last year’s election-season gridlock and would cover the operating budgets of every Cabinet department except for Veterans Affairs.
Talks on the measure have hit a rough patch as a deadline to avert a government shutdown looms late next week. Trump’s presidency is approaching the symbolic 100-day mark, but his GOP allies in Congress have been tempering expectations that the president would emerge as a big winner. Democratic votes are likely to be needed to pass whatever bill emerges from the talks, and Senate Democrats could bottle it up entirely if they object to provisions that they deem to be “poison pills” — such as the money for the wall.
GOP leaders on Capitol Hill are eager to avert a shutdown, and the slow pace may make…