Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) on Wednesday said he believes the government is headed for a shutdown after a highly contentious Oval Office meeting Tuesday between President TrumpDonald TrumpSix big off-year elections you might be missing Twitter suspends GOP Rep. Banks for misgendering trans health official Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' MORE, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerManchin meeting with Biden, Schumer in Delaware Progressives' optimism for large reforms dwindles Democratic frustration with Sinema rises MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDems look to keep tax on billionaires in spending bill Sunday shows - Democrats' spending plan in the spotlight Pelosi won't say if she'll run for reelection in 2022 MORE (D-Calif.) over funding for a border wall.
“I think we’re going to have a shutdown for two reasons,” Kennedy said. “No. 1, President Trump does not look to me like he was bluffing or is bluffing, and No. 2, I don’t think Speaker Pelosi is going to agree to anything because she’s worried about her Speakership,” Kennedy said on CNN’s “New Day,” referring to the Jan. 3 House vote Pelosi will need to win to officially reclaim the Speaker’s gavel.
Trump stunned members on both sides of the aisle during the meeting when he said he would take ownership of a shutdown if the two parties could not come to an agreement over border wall funding.
The president is demanding $5 billion specifically for the wall, while Democrats are offering $1.6 billion for border security.
“We don’t get what we want, one way or the other, whether it’s through you, through military, through anything you want to call, I will shut down the government. And I am proud to shut down the government for border security. I will take the mantle. I will shut it down, I’m not going to blame you for it,” Trump told Schumer and Pelosi Tuesday.
Funding for seven government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, will lapse on Dec. 21 without a deal. Kennedy said a shutdown would hurt both parties, but a focus on politics over policy could prevent a deal from being made.
“I think the American people look to us up here to try to make things work,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned if it’s shut down, it’s a pox on all of our houses. I don’t know politically who’s going to win or lose this. I do know too many people are preoccupied with the politics of it. We ought to try to figure a way out of this.”
Trump has made the border wall the cornerstone of his immigration policy, though its funding is in serious jeopardy with Democrats poised to take control of the House in January.