The fight over President Donald Trump’s $5 billion wall funds deepened Monday, threatening a partial government shutdown in a standoff that has become increasingly common in Washington.
House Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her political allies have dug in their heels and refused to fund a wall. Sunday, wounded veteran Brian Kolfage made a move that has Pelosi and her pals scrambling.
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The triple-amputee is trying to get the wall built by himself.
It wasn’t always like this, with Congress and the White House at a crisis over government funding. The House and Senate used to pass annual appropriation bills, and the president signed them into law. Under former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, billions of dollars were routinely ear-marked for wall construction and border security without a second thought by Democrats.
A partial shutdown that could occur at midnight Friday risks disrupting government operations and leaving hundreds of thousands of federal employees furloughed or working without pay over the holiday season. Costs would be likely in the billions of dollars.
Trump was meeting with his team and getting regular updates, said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Trump was also tweeting Monday to keep up the pressure.
The president is insisting on $5 billion for the wall along the southern border with Mexico, but he does not have the votes from the establishment Republicans in Congress to support it. Pelosi is offering to continue funding at current levels, $1.3 billion — not for the wall but only for fencing and other border security.
Kolfage, a regular Fox News contributor and motivational speaker, finally had enough and began collecting private funds to build the wall himself.
He opened a GoFundMe page on Sunday to raise private donations to support Trump.
“Like a majority of Americans we elected President Donald J Trump to Make America Great Again. President Trump’s main campaign promise was to BUILD THE WALL. And as he’s followed through on just about every promise so far, this wall project needs to be completed still,” the page reads.
“As a veteran who has given so much, 3 limbs, I feel deeply invested to this nation to ensure future generations have everything we have today. Too many Americans have been murdered by illegal aliens and too many illegals are taking advantage of the United States taxpayers with no means of ever contributing to our society,” Kolfage wrote.
The effort quickly went viral.
In less than two days, over $50,000 has been collected — and that number is rapidly climbing. [Editors note: As of Jan. 3, the private fundraising effort has pulled in pledges of nearly $19,000,000.]
“Democrats are going to stall this project by every means possible and play political games to ensure President Trump doesn’t get his victor. They’d rather see President Trump fail, than see America succeed. However, if we can fund a large portion of this wall, it will jumpstart things and will be less money Trump has to secure from our politicians,” the donation page reads.
“This won’t be easy, but it’s our duty as citizens. This needs to be shared every single day by each of you on social media. We can do it, and we can help President Trump make America safe again!”
The Associated Press contributed to this article