Donald Trump is holding Obamacare hostage to get his border wall

Migrant workers pick green beans in Homestead Florida

Democrats have already said they would not support any spending bill that would allocate taxpayer money to pay for a border wall with Mexico, one of Mr Trump's core campaign promises.

Funding for President Donald Trump's massive and catastrophically expensive wall at the USA border with Mexico could be the deciding factor as to whether the government stays open past April 28.

Mick Mulvaney, Trump's budget chief, said Thursday Democrats will need to agree to pay for some Trump's top priorities, including a wall at the US-Mexico border, in legislation to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends October 1.

Democrats responded harshly to Mulvaney's remarks Thursday.

The House and Senate have been negotiating for weeks on a bill that would keep the government open past April 28, when most agencies run out of funding. Meanwhile, 60 votes are needed in the Senate and Republicans only hold 52.

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The last time the government shut down was in 2013, when Republicans attempted to stop the funding of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Referring specifically to the administration's demand that its project at the border must be funded, he added: "Not only are Democrats opposed to the wall, there is significant Republican opposition as well". With control of all three branches of government, Democrats are betting voters will have to blame Republicans for any shutdown.

"We have the leverage and they have the exposure", House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told fellow her Democrats on a conference call Thursday, according to a senior Democratic aide.

Mulvaney said the White House isn't enthusiastic about Democratic demands on the Obamacare payments but is open to them as part of a broader agreement. They want to budget to include funds to subsidize cost-sharing payments to insurance companies, which helps low-income citizens afford their healthcare plans.

"Everything had been moving smoothly until the administration moved in with a heavy hand,"Matt House, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY, told the Post". "That being said, if it's important enough to the Democrats, we'd be happy to talk to them about including that in sort of some type of compromise".

"If they tell us to pound sand, I think that's probably a disappointing indicator of where the next four years is going to go".

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