Top Dem to fellow lawmakers: 'Ignore the president' on wall

Top Dem to fellow lawmakers: 'Ignore the president' on wall
© Greg Nash

Rep. Dan KildeeDaniel (Dan) Timothy KildeeOn The Money: Judge rules banks can give Trump records to House | Mnuchin pegs debt ceiling deadline as 'late summer' | Democrats see momentum in Trump tax return fight | House rebukes Trump changes to consumer agency Democrats sense new momentum in Trump tax return fight Hollywood stars celebrate #RightToBearArts at DC gala MORE (D-Mich.) on Monday shared his advice to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle seeking to hammer out a deal to keep the government open: "Ignore the president" on the issue of the border wall.

"My advice to our conferees, Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate, is to ignore the president and ignore the talking heads who try to characterize the president, and just put our heads down and do our job," Kildee said on CNN's "New Day." 


Kildee is the chief deputy whip of the House Democratic Caucus.

He's not part of the bipartisan group of 17 lawmakers planning to negotiate a deal on border security to pave the way for passage of all seven appropriations bills needed to fund a quarter of the government. 

They are seeking to avoid a second government shutdown after the longest shutdown in U.S. history came to an end at 35 days last week with President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE signing a continuing resolution to keep the government open until Feb. 15.

"Well, we all go into this negotiation with our own point of view, recognizing that there will have to be compromise in order to get to yes," Kildee said.

He added that Democrats support a "21st century solution" to the "problem" at the border, saying they want to dedicate funding to various technologies.

"My view all along has been, if we’re going to go big and make significant investments in border security, let’s focus on what the real problems are," Kildee said. "The president believes it’s a wall that would be the solution to the problem; many of us do not. I would much rather see us spend the resources on drug sniffing technology and basically using the 21st century solution to this problem." 

"But let’s be clear, that’s the position that I take, but I’m also a member of Congress that commits to the process and believes that we have to give in order to get to yes," he continued. "Unfortunately it seems as though … the president is signaling that he won’t be willing to compromise. We are." 

Trump in an interview on Sunday said that he doubts he would accept an agreement that does not include $5.7 billion in funding for the wall, the same demand that triggered the first government shutdown as Democrats refused to give that amount. 

Kildee said that Democrats support "enhanced border security" that includes "barriers where they make sense."

"If there’s an argument that there’s a particular part of the geography that requires strengthening the fencing or barriers that are there, I think you’ll hear Democrats be willing to go that direction," Kildee said.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) last week expressed similar sentiments, saying Democrats could support granting $5.7 billion for border security as long as none of it was used to build a physical wall.