President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, in the East Room at the White House in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2017. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
April 24 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump is making his controversial and expensive border wall the do-or-die issue in a potential government shutdown this weekend, top congressional Democrats said Monday.
Congress must pass a funding measure by midnight Friday to keep the government operating. Trump, who signed an executive order in January directing agencies to start planning for the wall's construction, wants Democrats to allocate funding for the wall in the bill.
Senate minority leader Charles Schumer said Monday that Republican and Democratic lawmakers were well on their way to resolving the budget impasse when the White House got involved.
"Parties were negotiating quite well ... until Donald Trump and the White House threw a monkey wrench into this, with the wall," the New York senator said. "It's my view that if the president stepped out of it, we could get a budget done by Friday."
Trump has said building a massive wall along the 2,000 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border is a national security measure. Estimates have pegged the cost atl near $20 billion.
"The president is going to fulfill ... a promise he made to the American people," spokesman Sean Spicer said at the White House news briefing Monday.
"POTUS' insistence on the wall is a sign of weakness, robs children of investments in their future & has bipartisan opposition," House minority leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted.
Over the weekend, the White House insisted on mandating funding for the wall in the spending bill.
"Instead of risking government shutdown by shoving this wall down Congress' and American peoples' throats, the president ought to just let us come to an agreement," Schumer said.
Lawmakers could also come to a short-term agreement to fund the government for an interim period.
Pelosi said Monday Trump is closing in on his first 100 days in office with more busted promises and divisive goals.
"More impressive than the [number] of things DonaldTrump failed at during #Trump100Days is Americans' strength in fighting his reckless ideas," she tweeted Monday. "[He] spent his #Trump100Days trying to drive up health care costs & attacking religious groups."