The battle is gaining momentum for lawmakers in the fight over President Trump’s request to fully fund the proposed border wall, his top priority while campaigning for GOP candidates this Fall.
Trump called on Congress this week to fully fund his border-wall proposal, setting the stage for a difficult negotiation that will go well into December.
“We need the money to build the wall, the whole wall — not pieces of it all over,” the president said at a White House press conference Wednesday. “I’d like to see the wall.”
Democrats are opposed to the idea. They argue that it’s bad policy and don’t want to give Trump a major accomplishment that he can take into his 2020 reelection campaign.
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) says he’s willing to give something to Trump.
“On the general issue of border security, we’ve had great discussions in the appropriations process. They’ve been bipartisan,” Schumer said Wednesday.
Schumer said “there are good agreements on border security and other things that are in the Homeland Security appropriation” and predicted Republican and Democratic leaders could “get something good done” as long as the president doesn’t interfere.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says he will push for Trump’s border wall funding but has tried to manage expectations ahead of the lame-duck session. The Kentucky Senator said he needs Democratic cooperation.
“We’re certainly going to try help the president achieve what he’d like to do with regard to the wall and border security and that obviously will have be done on some kind of bipartisan discussion,” he said Wednesday.
The unknown will be Trump, who has in recent months threatened a government shutdown to force the Democrats’ hand.
When asked on Wednesday if he would pursue a shutdown strategy, Trump replied, “not necessarily.”
The president had previously said that he would be willing to let the Department of Homeland Security shutter if necessary to fund his border wall.
“If it happens, it happens,” he said. “If it’s about border security, I’m willing to do anything. We have to protect our borders.”
Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is angling for a presidential run, said: ”Mr. President, we’re never, ever going to build your stupid wall.”