As the benchmark of the Trump administration’s first 100 days in office approaches, so does the looming midnight weekend deadline when many agencies within the government are due to run out of money unless Congress adopts a continuing resolution.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Monday championed the number of accomplishments Trump has achieved in his first 100 days and gave assurance that health care reform and securing funds for a border wall are the president’s top priorities, but could not guarantee the government will not shut down at the end of the week.
“When you look at the totality of what we’ve accomplished … it is unbelievable what he has been able to do,” Spicer said Monday in defense of the president’s record.
The American Health Care Act was the only one of 10 bills Trump promised to send to Congress in his 100-day pledge to voters that had actually been submitted, but it never came to a vote. It remains a work in progress, as does tax reform and more.
CBS News Correspondent Major Garrett argued that the president has conspicuously failed at fulfilling the promises he made during the campaign considering “there is there is no explicit funding for the wall and no healthcare reform to repeal Obamacare.”
Spicer shot back, highlighting numerous other legislative accomplishments.
“There is a lot that I think we feel very proud that we have gotten done and taken care of,” Spicer said. ” You look at the immigration piece in particular, border crossing is way down, the number of executive orders and pieces of legislation that the president has signed – I think we feel very proud by what we’ve been able to accomplish to the promises he’s made to the American people.”
Government funding runs out at midnight Friday and speculation is buzzing around Capitol Hill about a possible government shutdown because Democrats have promised to refuse Trump’s request for money for some of his priorities, like the border wall with Mexico.
Spicer said he is “very confident” Congress would pass a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown this week, but cautioned that there are no guarantees.
“I can’t guarantee – but I think that the work that [Budget Director] Mulvaney and others have made in these negotiations has been very positive,” Spicer warned. “They feel very confident that that won’t happen.”
CNN’s Jim Acosta accused President Trump of being hypocritical for promising during the presidential race that Mexico would pay for the border wall.
“Why is there even discussion about shutting down the government over paying for the wall? Isn’t Mexico supposed to pay for the wall?” Acosta charged.
Spicer said that Trump has been clear we “need to get the funding going” first.
“We feel very confident that the government is not going to shut down,” Spicer assured. “The president has been very clear in the past about the fact – in order to get the ball rolling on border security and the wall he was going to have to use the current appropriations process but that promise would be kept as far as the payment of it.”
Acosta contended that a border wall is no longer necessary in light of the fact that border crossings are down.
A border wall is more efficient, Spicer explained.
“Just because you have a couple of good months or year, you want to take prudent long term steps,” the press secretary said. “If you are coming in through our southern border you have taken a lot of steps so far that has deterred border crossing. But this is a permanent step that will extend beyond his presidency. Eight years from now the next president will have that wall in place to make sure that it doesn’t continue.”
The president has said the wall is the top priority when it comes to the spending bill, tweeting out earlier Monday, “The wall is a very important tool in stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth and many others).
“If the wall is not built, which it will be, the drug situation will NEVER be fixed the way it should be! #BuildTheWall,” Trump tweeted.
Trump tweeted that Mexico would “eventually” be paying for the wall.
Democrats have said that they won’t approve any money to building a border wall. In fact, the minority leader Nancy Pelosi in the House over the weekend said that she thinks a border wall is a sign of weakness.
While media outlets all across the country are discussing President Trump’s first 100 days, he has called the benchmark “ridiculous.”
Spicer ceded during the briefing that the first 100 days an “artificial number that gets thrown” when the reality is the president has “4 years in [his] first term and 8 years for two terms” to accomplish his goals, goals toward which he already is making great strides.
“When you look at the number of pieces of legislation and executive orders, business confidence, the place of the U.S.’ role in the world, there’s a lot of accomplishments that have occurred and we feel very good about what we’ve done as we head up to this first 100 days,” he said. “But I think you are going to continue to see a lot of actions and a lot of results, going into the second hundred days, the third hundred days.
“I’m sure there are things you learn in the job, but I think he’s very proud of what he has set out to do and the progress that we have made,” he added.