President Donald Trump’s budget director is urging congressional Republicans to take a hard line against sanctuary cities in a must-pass spending bill, complicating efforts to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month, according to officials in both parties.
Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, is pressing lawmakers to include language to restrict federal funding grants for cities that do not enforce federal immigration policies. The goal is to bring the House Freedom Caucus on board with a government funding bill, according to Capitol Hill Republicans — or at least show that the administration is courting the support of the hard-right and pushing GOP leaders to adopt Trump's priorities.
But the effort by Mulvaney, a former conservative congressman from South Carolina, threatens to disrupt bipartisan negotiations on funding the government. Democrats are already calling a request for border wall money a “poison pill” that would shut down the government. An attempt to block liberal cities from receiving federal funds if they ignore immigration guidance would similarly cause Democrats to flee. The budget bill will need Democratic votes to pass — at least eight in the Senate, but probably in the House as well.
“It would blow up any chance of a bipartisan deal. Getting wall money is hard enough, and you get a guy pushing new riders out of nowhere,” said a Republican congressional aide. “I don’t see how catering to the Freedom Caucus votes help on [the] spending bill."
The White House referred questions on the matter to the OMB. An agency spokesman declined to comment.
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