Pelosi and Schumer to Trump: End the Shutdown Now, Argue About Wall Funding Later
The two Democratic leaders' comments suggest neither side is going to compromise on wall funding anytime soon.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.) offered a brief response to President Donald Trump's Oval Office address on border security. They emphasized the disruption caused by the current shutdown while arguing for reopening the government without any wall funding.
"President Trump has chosen to hold hostage critical services for the health, safety, and wellbeing of the American people and withhold the paychecks of 800,000 innocent workers across the nation," said Pelosi. She also said Trump must stop "manufacturing a crisis and reopen the government."
"Make no mistake, Democrats and the president want stronger border security, however we sharply disagree with the president about the way to do it," added Schumer, who accused Trump of governing by trantrum. "How do we untangle this mess? Separate the shutdown from arguments over border security."
Both Democrats also did their best to lay the blame for the shutdown on Trump's insistence on funding a border wall, something Pelosi descibed as an "obsession." The two also brought up Trump's oft-made promise that it would be Mexico, not American taxpayers, paying for any border wall.
Schumer and Pelosi also stressed their support for a form of border security that did not include wall funding, with Pelosi saying there was a need for additional technology and personnel that would "secure our borders while honoring our values."
Their position is unlikely to sway Trump, who has repeatedly pledged to oppose any effort to reopen the federal government that does not include $5.7 billion for the construction of a border wall. Postponing discussion on wall funding till a later date would both be a humiliating defeat for the president and eliminate whatever leverage the ongoing shutdown gives him to press for increased border spending.
This all means that the current federal government shutdown, now in its 18th day, will likely continue for the foreseeable future.