House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi told President Donald Trump he will get “nothing” to fund his southern border wall, in comments suggesting there is little progress in ending a budget deadlock that has shut down the federal government for almost two weeks.
Pelosi, a Democratic representative from California, was asked on NBC’s Today show if she would give Trump some of the $5 billion he is demanding to build the wall. “No, nothing for the wall,” Pelosi said. “We’re talking about border security. We can go through this back-and-forth. No. How many more times can we say no? No—nothing for the wall.”
Before the shutdown began on December 22, Trump said during a testy meeting with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the Democratic senator for New York, that he would take responsibility for any federal government stoppage. Trump said at the meeting he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security.”
Since then, the president has sought to blame the Democrats for the shutdown because they will not agree to a budget that includes any of the $5 billion of funding Trump is demanding for his border wall, which he claims will stop undocumented migrants crossing into the U.S.
Democrats will once again be the majority in the House of Representatives on Thursday when the new batch of Congresspeople are sworn in following the midterm elections in November. They plan to pass legislation to fund the federal departments currently shut down.
While they refuse to explicitly fund the wall, they have shown willingness to give an extra $1.6 billion to border security. However, Trump and the Republicans want more—and specifically for the wall’s construction, not just border security.
“We asked the president to support the bills that we support that will open up government,” Schumer told reporters after a meeting at the White House on Wednesday, CBS News reported.
“We asked him to give us one good reason—I asked him directly, I said ‘Mr. President give me one good reason why you should continue your shutdown of the eight cabinet departments while we are debating our differences on homeland security.’ He could not give a good answer,” said Schumer.
Republicans control the Senate, which must also approve the budget. Though the House has flipped back to the Democrats, the Republicans increased their majority in the Senate after the midterms.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the House Democrats’ budget plan a “nonstarter” and urged them to get “serious” if they want to end the current deadlock.
“It’s exactly the kind of proposal you’d expect if the incoming House Democrats are choosing to stage a political sideshow rather than doing the hard work of helping govern the country. In other words a total nonstarter,” McConnell told the Senate, The Hill reported.
President Trump tweeted that Congressional leaders had an “important” meeting on border security, though there was little sign of an end to the shutdown.
“Both parties must work together to pass a Funding Bill that protects this Nation and its people–this is the first and most important duty of government,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “I remain ready and willing to work with Democrats to pass a bill that secures our borders, supports the agents and officers on the ground, and keeps America Safe. Let’s get it done!”
The president later added: “Sadly, there can be no REAL Border Security without the Wall!”
He also said at a meeting with his cabinet that he is content for the shutdown to continue for “as long as it takes” because he believes “the people of this country think I’m right.”