Mnuchin Says White House Has ‘No Intention’ for Government Shutdown

November 14, 2019 Updated: November 14, 2019

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration has no intention of initiating a government shutdown amid negotiations over border wall funding.

The deadline to fund the government is Nov. 21, or next Thursday.

“We have no intention of having a shutdown. I think everybody intends to keep the government open,” Mnuchin told reporters after he held a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other top members of Congress, reported The Hill.

Of the get-together with Pelosi, he told reporters: “We had a productive meeting.” Pelosi is the Democratic designated negotiator ahead of the funding deadline.

Mnuchin and Pelosi also met with Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), who said his “conversation with Mnuchin was promising.”

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y,), who met with the other three on Thursday, told RollCall: “I think what’s most important about that meeting, there was a general agreement from all sides that it was important to get our work done. And we intend to move forward and get our work done by Nov. 20.”

She said House lawmakers sent a proposed set of allocations to the Senate.

“The way the process works is once those allocations are done, then the individual [sub]committees work with the challenges and areas where there are differences,” Lowey said.

The House will move on the stopgap funding bill sometime next week, which will be followed by the Senate. According to Politico, White House officials said Trump is likely to sign the measure.

“Look, we’re all still talking about various challenges associated with funding the government. And we’re going to work it all out,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters on Thursday.

Under current law, money for the operations of an array of Washington agencies expires on Nov. 21. Without either an extension of temporary funds or the enactment of spending bills for the full fiscal year that began on Oct. 1, many agency operations would be suspended, Reuters noted.

One of the major disagreements revolves around funding to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Most Democrats and some Republicans object to the initiative, which was a central promise of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

A related point of contention revolves around moves by some Republicans to reduce spending for various other programs in order to pay for building a wall that will secure the southern border.

The same funding issue last year led to a 35-day shutdown, which was the longest in U.S. history.

Reuters contributed to this report.