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US President Donald Trump will be insistent on funding border wall, says top official

Washington: A top US official said he believes that president Donald Trump "will be insistent" that lawmakers include funds for the Mexico border wall in a spending bill that his administration needs to pass to avoid a government shutdown, the media reported.

US President Donald Trump. Reuters

US President Donald Trump. Reuters

In a CNN interview, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Saturday said he was confident that Trump will "do the right thing".

"I think it goes without saying that the president has been pretty straightforward about his desire and the need for a border wall...So I would suspect he'll do the right thing for sure."

Kelly said he thought Trump "will be insistent on the funding" for the wall, a lingering question ahead of the spending battle lawmakers face as they work this week to avoid the shutdown on 28 April.

But a senior administration official told CNN on Saturday that the White House would not let the government shut down over the issue.

"The White House is not going to allow the government to shut down," the official said, adding "We've been clear about what our priorities are. Leadership in both chambers understands that."

Kelly also commented on the timing of the wall's construction."

"We hope to begin construction by the end of the summer," the official added.

During a tour of the border, Kelly and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday met with law enforcement personnel from several federal agencies in El Paso, Texas.

Kelly said he spoke with local and state lawmakers willing to share their views on the best way to build the wall.

Putting up a wall along the US-Mexico border was one of Trump's key campaign promises, and he issued an executive order in January directing that construction begin, reports CNN.

The Trump administration has already asked Congress for money to start building the wall, but Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and other top Democrats oppose the wall and say adding any money to the spending bill for it is a "non-starter".

Updated Date: Apr 23, 2017 13:23 PM

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