Ryan Promises ‘Big Fight’ on Border Wall Funding, Doesn’t Rule Out Partial Shutdown

Speaker says he doesn’t know what outcome will be in December

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., is promising Republicans will fight for border wall funding in December. He won't rule out a partial government shutdown. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Monday refused to rule out a partial government shutdown as he promised Republicans would push hard to secure additional border wall funding in December appropriations negotiations.

“We will have a big fight about that,” the Wisconsin Republican said. 

Ryan, speaking during a news conference at the National Press Club, said that he doesn’t yet know what that fight will look like or what the outcome will be.

“We’ll figure out how to do it in December,” he said.

Congress passed — and President Donald Trump signed into law — five of the 12 annual appropriations bills before the Sept. 30 deadline.

“We did not want to have a wall fight get in the way of that achievement,” Ryan said on the reason Congress punted that debate.

Agencies covered under the remaining seven bills are running on a continuing resolution that lasts through Dec. 7. Failure to pass any of those bills could lead to a partial government shutdown.

The primary bill Republicans and Democrats will be arguing over is the Department of Homeland Security, which is where wall funding and other immigration security and enforcement provisions would be debated. Congress appropriated $1.6 billion for border security fencing in fiscal 2018 and portions of an extended border barrier have been built already.

“What the president wants to do is get a bigger down payment so we can get it built faster,” Ryan said.

That’s what Republicans will be fighting for come December. As to how far they’re willing to go, it remains to be seen. 

The speaker wouldn’t rule out a partial shutdown, however.

“I can’t speak to what the outcomes will be, only that the effort is there,” Ryan said.

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