Senate Dem knocks border wall as '4th century strategy'

Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyAl Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Democrats warm to idea of studying reparations MORE (D-Ore.) in an interview Sunday knocked President TrumpDonald John TrumpChelsea Clinton announces birth of third child Ukrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Trump attacks 'the Squad' as 'racist group of troublemakers' MORE’s proposed border wall, saying that Democrats will not spend money on “fourth century strategy” as a partial government shutdown stretches into its second day.

"I think the president is determined to carry this forward at least until the Democratic Congress comes in," Merkley told host Jon Karl on ABC’s “This Week."

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“It’s not about border security, Jon. He's sitting on over $1 billion, 94 percent of what we sent him last year for border security he hasn't bothered to spend. If you're not going to spend nine out of 10 dollars on an issue, you obviously don't care about it that much. This is politics, not policy.”

Merkley also said Democrats are “absolutely willing to fund border security.”

“The American people want us to spend money in a smart way, $5 billion is a lot of money. That's 650,000 children attending Head Start. It's 2 million meals a day for a year ... for seniors. And to spend it on a fourth century strategy rather than on stuff that actually improves border security is something we're just not going to do.”

Congressional leadership and the Trump administration are locked in negotiations about border funding — the major snag for the spending talks that have resulted in a partial government shutdown.

But there are no signs the White House and congressional Democrats are close to agreeing on a number that could pass both chambers and garner the president’s signature.

“So let me be clear. Democrats are not going to agree to any funding to build a new border wall? None?" Karl asked Merkley on Sunday.

“That's correct,” the Democratic senator responded. “None.”