Schumer blasts GOP request for immigration 'slush fund'

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar Why we need to build gateway now MORE (N.Y.) on Tuesday blasted a Republican proposal to give President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral MORE $1 billion to address immigration issues as a “slush fund.”  

Schumer said he called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral GOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' McConnell calls McCain a 'rare patriot' and 'American hero' after Trump criticism MORE (R-Ky.) “and told him we would not accept their $1 billion slush fund.”

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McConnell, after consulting with Trump, earlier in the day proposed a deal that would provide the administration $1.6 billion for border fencing — the amount approved this year by the Senate Appropriations Committee — as well as $1 billion for other immigration-related matters. 

“Let me be clear: The Republican offer today would not pass either chamber. We Democrats have made two reasonable offers that could earn overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and Senate,” Schumer told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

"A $1 billion slush fund is not what is right, what the American people want, and it couldn't get votes in either house to pass," he added. 

Schumer also argued that Trump does not have authority to reprogram defense funding or other accounts to pay for the border wall. 

“They need congressional approval. They’re not getting it for the wall, plain and simple,” he said.

He reiterated the Democrats’ offer to pass a yearlong stopgap to fund the Department of Homeland Security or a yearlong stopgap to cover the seven unfinished appropriations bills, which include Homeland Security. 

Both offers would provide $1.3 billion for border fencing, the same amount Congress appropriated for fiscal 2018.

“The ball remains in the president’s and Republicans’ court to accept one of our commonsense proposals,” Schumer said. 

But he said if McConnell offers a short-term spending bill to keep the government funded into January or February, “it’s something we’d very seriously consider.”