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Government shutdown less likely now that Trump has relented on border wall

CLOSE Government shutdown less likely now that Trump has relented on border wall
Government shutdown less likely now that Trump has relented on border wall

As the 100-day mark approaches, President Trump backs down from his demand for wall funding to avoid a government shutdown. Video provided by Newsy Newslook

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A US-Mexico border fence is illuminated by car headlights at sunset. (Photo: David McNew, Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The White House appeared Tuesday to be backing off its demand for immediate funding to begin construction of a wall on the Southwest border, opting instead to fight for money in the 2018 budget and make it easier for Congress to avert a government shutdown this week.

President Trump was the only Republican leader pushing for the border wall to be included in the government funding bill that must pass by midnight Friday to prevent a shutdown. Now that he appears to have relented, the bill will not include money for the wall. It is expected to boost spending on other types of border security and for defense programs and combat operations.

Trump told reporters Tuesday afternoon that the wall will still be built "soon" and will be finished by the end of his current four-year term in office.

"We’re already preparing," the president said. "We’re doing plans, we’re doing specifications, we’re doing a lot of work on the wall, and the wall is going to get built...We have plenty of time."

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said on Fox News that the wall remains a priority for Trump but does not have to be funded in this week's spending bill. House and Senate negotiators are trying to reach a compromise deal to fund federal agencies through the end of fiscal 2017, which ends on Sept. 30.

"Building that wall and having it funded remains an important priority for him, but we also know that can happen later this year and into next year," Conway said Tuesday. "In the interim, you see other smart technology and other resources and tools being used toward border security. We’ll have those enhancements for border security and then moving on to funding and building the wall later on."

Conway's comments came after reports that Trump told a group of about 20 conservative journalists Monday night that he would be willing to wait for border funding until September — when Congress would be working to pass the 2018 spending bills.

However, Trump also made it clear in a Tuesday morning tweet that he has not backed down from his demand for a wall, even if the timing for funding may have changed.

Democratic congressional leaders had warned Monday that Trump's demand for $1.4 billion in emergency funds to begin construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border would lead to a government shutdown because they would not support the funding. Republican leaders need Democrats to help them pass the legislation to keep the government open. Some border-state Republicans also oppose the wall, calling it too costly and ineffective.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., expressed relief at Trump's apparent willingness to drop his demand for immediate funding in

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Lumber fight with Canada could raise home prices

CLOSE Lumber fight with Canada could raise home prices
Lumber fight with Canada could raise home prices

The Trump administration on Monday imposed a 20% tariff on softwood lumber entering the United States from Canada, souring a generally friendly trading relationship between the two countries. Newslook

AP HOME CONSTRUCTION F USA VA

In this photo taken June 8, 2015, a worker carries a load of lumber at a new home construction site in Mechanicsville, Va. The Commerce Department reports on home construction during June on Friday, July 17, 2015. (Photo: Steve Helber, AP)

A decades-long trade dispute between the United States and Canada has reemerged, possibly affecting new home prices and triggering concerns of brewing tension.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said late Monday the department's investigation has found that Canada has been improperly subsidizing its softwood lumber exporters and the U.S. will begin collecting tariffs on shipments crossing the border. Rates will vary, with one Canadian company paying 3% and others paying typically about 20%.

Canadian imports to the U.S. — valued at about $5.7 billion in 2016 — make up about 30% of all softwood lumber used in U.S. residential housing construction.

The National Association of Home Builders, which has been lobbying against the lumber tariffs, criticized the move and said it would result in higher prices for newly built homes.

“NAHB is deeply disappointed in this short-sighted action by the U.S. Department of Commerce that will ultimately do nothing to resolve issues causing the U.S.-Canadian lumber trade dispute but will negatively harm American consumers and housing affordability,” Granger MacDonald, the group's chairman, said in a statement.

U.S. lumber producers say that subsidized — and cheap — Canadian imports have driven U.S. producers out of business and that the tariffs will reinvigorate the industry and generate more jobs. "It’s creating a level playing field," says Zoltan van Heyningen, executive director of the U.S. Lumber Coalition.

The tariffs are the latest evidence of President Trump's increasing pressure on Canada as he looks to negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, the 23-year old trade deal among the U.S., Canada and Mexico that he has lambasted on the campaign trail.

In a speech in Wisconsin last week, he criticized Canada over a lingering dispute over ultra-filtered milk, a concentrate used to make cheese. Trump repeated the criticism on Twitter Tuesday, saying "Canada has made business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very difficult. We will not stand for this. Watch!"

In a press conference, Ross deflected any possibility of a trade war with Canada, saying the disputes are isolated to the lumber and dairy industries. "We look forward to constructive discussions with Canadians as we get into NAFTA," he said.

Here are some questions to consider:

Q: Why did the Trump administration decide to impose tariffs on Canadian lumber?

Disputes between U.S. lumber producers and their Canadian rivals have been going on for decades. The last trade agreement between the U.S. and Canada, called the Softwood Lumber Agreement, expired in 2015. And American producers have been asking for an investigation into what they consider the unfair subsidies that the Canadian government offers its lumber industry.

In Canada, forest lands

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