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Iran Press TV

Trump may delay Mexico wall to avoid shutdown

Iran Press TV

Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:26AM

US President Donald Trump has signaled willingness to postpone his planned wall on the border with Mexico to prevent a government shutdown.

Trump told conservative media outlets in a private meeting on Monday that he might put the plan on hold until Republicans draft a budget blueprint for the fiscal year that begins on October 1.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Congress have been negotiating a short-term extension of the existing spending levels through September to avoid a government shutdown when the current spending bill ends on Friday.

Democrats say they would only agree with the extension if Trump withdraws the wall funding.

The Trump White House has asked for $1.4 billion as a down payment for the roughly $20 billion project, a request that has been met with strong bipartisan opposition in Congress.

According to internal estimates by the US Department of Homeland Security, the total cost of the border barrier would stand at about $21.6 billion. During the campaign run, Trump promised to build the wall and force Mexico to repay for it.

"It's good for the country that President Trump is taking the wall off the table in these negotiations," Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. "Now the bipartisan and bicameral negotiators can continue working on the outstanding issues."

Democrats had indicated in the past that they would agree with additional funds for enhanced border security as long as they are not being spent on a wall.

Trump insists that his planned wall would help curb the influx of drugs and illegal immigrants.

"The president has made very clear that he's got two priorities in this continuing resolution: number one, the increase in funding for the military and number two, for our homeland security and the wall," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Monday.

Spicer said the negotiations were on the right track and an announcement was expected soon. However, he did not specify whether Trump would sign an spending bill that did not fund the border wall.

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