Schumer says Dems won’t budge on Trump wall demand

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDem senators debate whether to retweet Cardi B video criticizing Trump over shutdown William Barr's only 'flaw' is that he was nominated by Trump Cardi B expresses solidarity with federal workers not getting paid MORE (N.Y.) on Thursday declared that Democrats will not provide any more funding for a border wall and are willing to wait until January, when a Democratic majority in the House will give them more leverage, to deal with the issue.

“I want to be crystal clear. There will be no additional appropriations to pay for the border wall. It’s done,” Schumer declared on the Senate floor.

Parts of the government will shut down after Dec. 21 if a new funding bill isn’t signed into law.

ADVERTISEMENT

The sticking point has been Trump’s demands for $5 billion in funding for his border wall. Schumer has since said he would back keeping funding at 2018 levels, which would provide about $1.3 billion for border fencing.

Democrats believe they don’t have to give any ground and that Republicans will get blamed for a partial government shutdown after Trump declared during a televised exchange with Schumer and the likely next Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiOvernight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal McConnell blocks bill to reopen most of government Overnight Health Care: Thousands more migrant children may have been separated | Senate rejects bill to permanently ban federal funds for abortion | Women's March to lobby for 'Medicare for All' MORE (D-Calif.), that he would accept responsibility for a shutdown.

“I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down,” Trump said at the White House meeting.

The remarks dumfounded Republicans, who felt Trump had given away valuable leverage to Democrats.

Schumer warned that if funding for government agencies expires after Dec. 21, Democrats will wait until they take control of the House to pass a yearlong funding stopgap, which would keep funding for border fencing flat compared to 2018, and dare Senate Republicans to block it.

“I would just like to remind my friend the majority leader that if we arrive at a Trump shutdown, the onus for reopening the government will soon fall in his lap,” Schumer said in comments directed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees McConnell blocks bill to reopen most of government Overnight Health Care: Thousands more migrant children may have been separated | Senate rejects bill to permanently ban federal funds for abortion | Women's March to lobby for 'Medicare for All' MORE (R-Ky.).

“When Democrats take control of the House in January, Democrats will pass one of our two options to fund the government and then Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans will be left holding the bag for a Trump shutdown,” he added.

The first option under consideration for Democrats would be to offer a yearlong spending stopgap for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees border security. The second would be to offer a yearlong stop gap for all seven unfinished appropriations bills. Both proposals would keep funding for border fencing at the same level as Congress appropriated for 2018.

Schumer argued that there is now no way for Trump to avoid blame for a shutdown after his comments Tuesday.

“If we wind up with a shutdown, it will be entirely the president’s fault,” he said. “President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about plans to build Trump Tower in Moscow during 2016 campaign: report DC train system losing 0k per day during government shutdown Senate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees MORE himself would not dispute that in the Oval Office Tuesday. He almost bragged that he would shut down the government.”

Schumer also mocked the president’s claim on Twitter Thursday morning that savings generated by a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada would pay for the cost of building a border wall, thereby fulfilling his campaign promise that Mexico would pay for the wall.

 

Schumer argued if that were true then Congress doesn’t need to appropriate additional funds.

“Mr. President, if you say Mexico is going to pay for the wall through NAFTA, which it certainly won’t, then I guess we don’t have to,” he said.