The government is set to run out of funds on Friday, the day before Trump holds a rally in Pennsylvania to celebrate his milestone.
The president wants any spending bill to include money for construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border, a key campaign pledge, which Democrats have called a “non-starter” and even some Republicans oppose.
After threatening over the weekend to block funding for the Affordable Care Act unless Democrats help secure more money for the wall, Trump tweeted on Monday morning that: “The Wall is a very important tool in stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth (and many others)! If … the wall is not built, which it will be, the drug situation will NEVER be fixed the way it should be!”
Trump’s proposed budget last month earmarked $1.5bn for the wall but others estimate that completing it could cost 10 times as much. Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, has said the White House had proposed a dollar-for-dollar funding deal for Obamacare and the wall.
The president’s plan to make Mexico pay for the wall – always disputed by Mexico itself – seems to have been delayed. “Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall,” Trump tweeted on Sunday.
Top Democrats said on Monday that Trump could avoid a shutdown next week if he backed off his demand that a budget plan should include funding for the wall.
“If the president stepped out of it we could get a budget done by Friday,” the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, said on a conference call with reporters.
The House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, agreed. She argued that the president did not have a “mandate” to fund the wall, after having repeatedly promised Mexico would pay for it.
“No, he did not promise he would take food out of the mouths of babies,” Pelosi said, adding that funding his “immoral, ineffective, unwise proposal of a wall” would mean cutting programs for seniors, education, environment and science.