GOP rep says ‘comprehensive’ border security package may not need $5 billion for wall

Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.) on Thursday said that a deal on border security to reopen the parts of the government could include less than President Trump’s requested $5.7 billion for a border wall. 

“There’s an answer to this. It may not be $5.6 or $5.7 billion for the wall. Maybe it’s less than that,” Mitchell told Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on “Rising.” 

“This is a comprehensive package for border security. People just talk about just the wall because that’s an easy target,” he continued.

“There’s a whole series of things there to do with the humanitarian and security issues on the border that are not being addressed because the Democrat majority in the House, [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi, says we’re not going to put one dollar up, she said, ‘Well, maybe a dollar’ for the wall,” he said. “That’s just petty and childish. Let’s just be adults here and solve the problem.” 

The congressman’s comments come as negotiations between the White House and congressional Democrats hit another dead end on Wednesday. 

The president left a White House meeting with Democrats after 20 minutes, calling the negotiating sessions “a total waste of time.” 

The dispute over wall funding has led to a partial government shutdown that appears poised to head into its fourth week. Trump has dug in on his request for more than $5 billion in funding for a barrier on the border, while Democrats have offered $1.3 billion for border security measures.

The stakes are rising for both sides to reach a deal to reopen the government as federal workers prepare to miss their first paycheck on Friday due to the disagreement. 

Mitchell said that any comprehensive border package agreed upon must include funding for Trump’s proposed wall. 

“I don’t think the government opens until we have true and good faith negotiations on a comprehensive border package for our southeast border,” he said. “That package has to include a wall.”

 Julia Manchester

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