Fox's Wallace to Pence: Is government shutdown all about 'leverage?'

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Sunday asked Vice President Pence if the government shutdown was a mechanism for the Trump administration to gain "leverage" in its fight to get funding for border security. 

The question from Wallace came as Pence argued that "what the American people want us to do is work on their priorities," including securing the U.S.-Mexico border. 

"No, isn’t it really that you just want the leverage?" Wallace asked on "Fox News Sunday." "And that you figure if you don’t keep the government closed, that then they’re going to go nowhere?"

The government shutdown was triggered on Dec. 22 after Democratic and Republican lawmakers failed to come to a new agreement on a spending bill.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE has demanded that more than $5 billion be included in any bill for a wall along the southern border, which Democrats have repeatedly opposed. 


Pence on Sunday argued that "the American people want action on our southern border."

"They want border security, 800,000 federal workers want us to find a way to open the government," Pence said. 

"You could open the government tomorrow," Wallace responded, repeating the statement several times. 

“The House has passed bills to open the government tomorrow. Why don’t you sign them and open the government and then you can negotiate about this?" he continued, referring to a series of bills Democrats have passed to fund most shuttered government agencies. 

Trump on Saturday proposed a new deal that would include more than $5 billion in funding for a wall along the southern border as well as a three-year extension of protections for people who benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and Temporary Protected Status holders.

The proposal was quickly criticized by Democrats, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) calling it a "non-starter." 

Pence insisted on CBS's "Face the Nation" that Trump's pitch would satisfy both Republican and Democratic priorities.