Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump's budget director and incoming acting chief of staff, is predicting that the government shutdown could stretch into January — and even remain in effect when Democrats officially take over the House of Representatives.
"It’s very possible that this shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress," Mulvaney explained during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, according to The Washington Post. He also insisted that the fault for the shutdown rests with Democrats for not accepting a recent White House proposal for border wall funding that falls far below the $5 billion price tag he originally requested. On Saturday it was reported that the new White House request includes $2.5 billion for border security funding that would incorporate fencing construction and an additional $400 million for other Trump immigration priorities.
By contrast, probable incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already said that the spending bill she intends on passing to reopen the government once Democrats retake control of the House will include $1.3 billion for border security — but not a penny for a border wall.
Mulvaney also acknowledged during his interview that Trump's personality has made it more difficult to navigate through the government shutdown.
"This is what Washington looks like when you have a president who refuses to sort of go along to get along," Mulvaney told the network. Yet he also tried to reassure the country by insisting that "I want everybody to understand no one is working without getting paid."
Mulvaney's hint at Trump's responsibility for the government shutdown was explicitly stated by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
"At midnight last night, roughly 25 percent of the government shut down because of one person and one person alone: President Trump," Schumer explained in a Senate speech on Saturday, according to CNN. "We arrived at this moment because President Trump has been on a destructive, two week temper tantrum, demanding the American taxpayer pony up for an expensive and ineffective border wall that the president promised Mexico would pay for."
After reviewing how Trump has repeatedly called for a government shutdown, how the Senate had unanimously agreed to extend government spending through February to avert a shutdown, and how this was rejected by Trump due to the influence of his far right advisers, Schumer emphasized that Trump's border wall goals were politically impossible.
"Everyone knew yesterday, long before the House vote, that the president's wall lacked 60 votes in the Senate. It has proven to lack even 50 votes," Schumer exclaimed. "It will never pass the Senate: Not today, not next week, not next year. So Mr. President, President Trump, if you want to open the government, you must abandon the wall."