President Trump said the threat of a partial government shutdown on Saturday is real, and blasted congressional Democrats for holding up spending negotiations.
"It could happen," Trump told reporters on Wednesday, responding to questions about whether the government could shut down.
"The Democrats are really looking at something that is very dangerous for our country," he continued. "They are looking at shutting down. They want to have illegal immigrants ... pouring into our country, bringing with them tremendous amounts of crime."
Democratic leaders refused to meet with the White House last week to discuss a year-end spending deal, after Trump signaled he would not support a legislative package that includes protections for undocumented youth.
They accepted a second invitation earlier this week, but have continued to press Republicans and Trump to include a legislative fix for so-called Dreamers. Congressional GOP leaders have simultaneously pushed for increased defense spending to be featured in the bipartisan appropriations bill.
"We need to reach a budget agreement that equally boosts funds for our military and key priorities here at home," Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi, Calif., and Chuck Schumer, N.Y., said in a statement on Monday.
House Republicans are currently considering a stopgap measure that would fund the government through Dec. 22, buying Congress more time to reach a longer-term deal. But another short-term spending bill is expected after that as well.
"Democrats maybe will want to shut down the country because they want people flowing into our country," Trump said Wednesday. "I want people coming into country, but I want to vet them very carefully."