Budget chief: Funding for wall must be included in spending bill

Budget chief: Funding for wall must be included in spending bill
© Greg Nash

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on Thursday said that the funding for President Trump's wall on the U.S.-Mexico border must be included in the upcoming bill to fund the government.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Mulvaney urged Democrats to agree to fund Trump's top immigration priorities, including the wall and hiring of additional immigration agents.

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Mulvaney told the AP that "we want wall funding" as part of the spending bill that is expected to be unveiled next week as lawmakers prepare to negotiate in the days before a government-funding deadline.

"We want wall funding. We want [immigration] agents. Those are our priorities," he said. 

"We know there are a lot of people on the Hill, especially in the Democratic Party, who don't like the wall, but they lost the election. And the president should, I think, at least have the opportunity to fund one of his highest priorities in the first funding bill under his administration."

Mulvaney also said that compromise with the Democrats is possible but added that the White House is not enthusiastic about the Democratic proposal to include cost-sharing payments to insurance companies that help low-income families under ObamaCare.

"The president has been quoted several times and said he's inclined not to make them, and I can't tell you that I'm interested in dissuading him from that position," Mulvaney told the AP.

"That being said, if it's important enough to the Democrats, we'd be happy to talk to them about including that in sort of some type of compromise," he added.

"If Democrats are interested and serious about compromise and negotiation, the ball is in their court."

A spokesperson for Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles SchumerCongress can send a powerful message by passing the Israel Anti-Boycott Act OPINION | Dems' ‘new’ agenda? A recycled copy of Trump’s playbook Trump: Why aren't 'beleaguered AG,' investigators looking at Hillary Clinton? MORE (D-N.Y.) on Thursday accused the Trump administration of moving in "with a heavy hand."

“Everything had been moving smoothly until the administration moved in with a heavy hand. Not only are Democrats opposed to the wall, there is significant Republican opposition as well,” spokesman Matt House said in a statement.