WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump said a government shutdown "could happen" Saturday and wants any blame to fall on Democrats for refusing to agree to tougher immigration measures.
"It could happen," Trump told reporters at the beginning of a Cabinet meeting at the White House. "Democrats maybe will want to shut down this country because they want people flowing into our country," Trump said.
Lawmakers have hit a stalemate on funding government agencies past Friday, when the current appropriation bills expire. Republicans have been trying to reach a stopgap deal to fund the government to at least Dec. 22.
Democrats have withheld their votes from a short-term measure in hopes of pushing through a bipartisan bill that could protect from deportation immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
"President Trump is the only person talking about a government shutdown, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tweeted in response. "Democrats are hopeful the President will be open to an agreement to address the urgent needs of the American people and keep government open."
Trump said he wants Congress to act to protect hundreds of thousands of people whose work permits and deportation deferrals begin expiring in March, after he announced in September he was ending the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. But he has since demanded a laundry list of hard-line immigration measures that must accompany such a bill, including a reduction in legal immigration
In a Tweet in May, Trump seemed to invite a "good 'shutdown.'"
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