GOP senator 'reasonably optimistic' border security negotiations will be successful

GOP senator 'reasonably optimistic' border security negotiations will be successful
© Greg Nash

Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntMichelle Obama presents Lin-Manuel Miranda with National Portrait Award GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Overnight Health Care: Cigarette smoking rates at new low | Spread of vaping illness slowing | Dems in Congress push to block Trump abortion rule MORE (R-Mo.) said Sunday he's "reasonably optimistic" bipartisan negotiations in the upcoming weeks will produce a successful result to fund the government and secure the border.

Blunt, who will serve on a bipartisan conference committee of Senate and House lawmakers to discuss border security funding, said on "Fox News Sunday" that he believes the end of a 35-day partial government shutdown will spark more productive negotiations that will give all parties what they're looking for.

"I’m reasonably optimistic," Blunt said. "I think everybody’s stepped out into the new world we’re in — Republican Senate, Democratic House, new Speaker, Republican president. The initial touching of the gloves was not producing the kind of result that we need to produce here."

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"So I’m optimistic, and we need to work hard to see that we find how we can solve this in a way that the president gets what he needs, but the American people fundamentally get the government that they deserve," he added.

The president on Friday signed a bill to fund the government for three weeks. The measure did not include money for a wall along the southern border, but provided the opportunity for a bipartisan conference of lawmakers to negotiate border security funding.

The decision marked a sharp reversal for Trump, who triggered a partial government shutdown over his demand for more than $5 billion in wall funding, and insisted for the previous 35 days that he would not cave on the issue in the face of Democratic opposition.

The president indicated he would declare a national emergency to construct the border wall if lawmakers did not reach a longer-term agreement to his liking over the next three weeks. Such a move would likely spark swift legal challenges.

Blunt, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said Sunday he would like border security funding to be addressed by Congress rather than through an emergency declaration by the president.

"I hope the president doesn’t have to go there," he said. "If we’ll do our job, he won’t even have to consider going there."