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Senate passes bill to avoid shutdown as Trump talks border wall

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Lawmakers have already funded five departments, including the Pentagon and Health and Human Services. The seven unfunded agencies make up about a quarter of the government.

In separate tweets Thursday morning, the president threatened retribution for Democrats for not funding the wall and appeared to play down the need for the barrier. Democrats “know Steel Slats (Wall) are necessary for Border Security” but “are putting politics over Country,” he contended. He threatened not to “sign any of their legislation, including infrastructure, unless it has perfect Border Security.”

But the president seemed to contradict himself in his next tweet. He suggested he did not need the barrier for strong border security. Trump said U.S. agencies have done a “great job” at the border.

“Border is tight. Fake News silent!” he wrote.

Trump sought $5 billion for the wall in the spending package. Pelosi and Schumer flatly denied his request in a heated Oval Office discussion last week.

The conservative Freedom Caucus, staunch supporters of the president and his immigration agenda, pushed for the $5 billion in wall money on the House floor Wednesday night. They also called for an end to the so-called catch and release immigration policy. The caucus’ members reportedly plan to oppose the spending bill, which means Republicans would need Democratic support to pass it.

Trump has started to justify his failure to secure wall funding in the spending bill. As a candidate, he repeatedly promised Mexico would pay for the barrier. On Wednesday, he claimed America’s southern neighbor will fund the wall through his revised North American trade agreement, an assertion the White House has struggled to explain.

He also contended that the U.S. military will construct the wall — a process that could also require congressional appropriations.

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