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

Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Energy: EPA watchdog finds Pruitt spent 4K on 'excessive' travel | Agency defends Pruitt expenses | Lawmakers push EPA to recover money | Inslee proposes spending T for green jobs Dems request investigation of lobbyist-turned-EPA employee who met with former boss This week: House to vote on bill to ban LGBTQ discrimination MORE (D-Ore.) in an interview Sunday knocked President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls for Republicans to be 'united' on abortion Tlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution Facebook temporarily suspended conservative commentator Candace Owens 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.”