Schumer blasts GOP request for immigration 'slush fund'

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Trump blasts Pelosi for wanting to leave country during shutdown The Senate should host the State of the Union MORE (N.Y.) on Tuesday blasted a Republican proposal to give President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Rove warns Senate GOP: Don't put only focus on base Ann Coulter blasts Trump shutdown compromise: ‘We voted for Trump and got Jeb!’ MORE $1 billion to address immigration issues as a “slush fund.”  

Schumer said he called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Senate to take up Trump's border-immigration plan next week Trump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback 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.”