Sen. Kennedy: ‘I think we're going to have a shutdown’

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 John TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values MORE, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerProtecting our judiciary must be a priority in the 116th Congress Baldwin's Trump plays 'Deal or No Deal' with shutdown on 'Saturday Night Live' Sunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiElise Stefanik seeks to tackle GOP’s women ‘crisis’ ahead of 2020 Our legislators must commit to making children a priority Dreamer: Dems 'should absolutely not' take Trump's immigration deal 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.