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President Donald Trump signaled Tuesday that he would take responsibility if the government shuts down next week over a fight for border wall funding. The top Democrats in Congress were more than happy to agree.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the likely next House speaker, made it clear after their explosive meeting with the president Tuesday that they would hold him to it if Congress and the White House can't reach a deal to fund the government by the end of Dec. 21.
Schumer and Pelosi told reporters after the meeting that they were prepared to let Trump take the hit after he said he would be "proud" to shut down the government over border security.
"The bottom line is simple. The president made clear that he wants a shutdown," Schumer said.
The New York Democrat was referring to remarks Trump made minutes earlier in the Oval Office.
"I am proud to shut down the government for border security," Trump said during a tense argument with Schumer and Pelosi as cameras rolled before the leaders' Oval Office meeting. Later, he added: "If we don't get what we want, one way or the other ... I will shut down the government, absolutely."
Trump has continued to insist on $5 billion for border wall funding, but Democrats have repeatedly pushed back on the request.
"We do not want to shut down the government. You have called 20 times to shut down the government. ... We don't," Schumer told Trump on Tuesday.
The GOP holds majorities in both houses of Congress, but Republicans have just 51 votes in the Senate and will need Democratic support to get to the needed 60-vote threshold to advance the spending legislation. The Democrats will gain control of the House come early January.
Later, the White House issued a readout of the meeting, saying: "Major disagreement remains on the issue of border security and transparency."
Trump has been pushing for a wall along the U.S.- Mexico border since his presidential campaign. He repeatedly claimed he would make Mexico pay for the wall. In California, the Trump administration has built at least eight border wall prototypes, including fences and concrete structures.
Still, voters appear in favor of a compromise from the president on his desired border wall funding for this next round of budget talks.
According to a new NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist poll, 57 percent of Americans believe Trump should compromise on the border wall instead of shutting down the government. However, 65 percent of Republicans say they believe Trump should not compromise on the border wall, even if it means a government shutdown.