Democratic Senators Say President Trump Will Not Get $5 Billion For Border Wall Funding

Official government portraits of Democratic U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley of Oregon (left) and Chris Coons of Delaware (right).

Official government portraits of Democratic U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley of Oregon (left) and Chris Coons of Delaware (right).

Two U.S. Senate Democrats said on Sunday morning that a short-term spending bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), would not be passed in the U.S. Senate that included $5 billion for border wall construction as President Donald Trump had requested.

Democratic U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon said “none” during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” with Jonathan Karl on Sunday when Karl asked him if Democrats would or would not “agree to any funding to build a new border wall.”

“[W]e’re absolutely willing to fund border security,” Sen. Merkley told Karl on Sunday. “The American people want us to spend money in a smart way.  Five billion dollars is a lot of money.” 

“And to spend it on a fourth century strategy rather on stuff that actually improves border security is something we are just not going to do,” Merkley added.

Sen. Merkley added in his interview that he is considering running as a candidate for president in 2020 and that he has “no doubt” he is prepared to be president.

The federal government went into a partial shutdown on Friday at midnight after Congress failed to pass a CR to keep the government fully funded temporarily through Feb. 8, effecting about a quarter of the U.S. government and 800,000 federal employees.

The path to the partial government shutdown began on Wednesday when the U.S. Senate passed the CR with no additional appropriations towards funding border wall construction after Senate Democrats rejected any additional funding above $1.3 billion.

On Thursday, President Trump, in an emergency meeting with GOP leadership from the U.S. House of Representatives, informed Republicans attending the meeting that he would not support a CR that did not include $5 billion for border wall construction.

The $5 billion request is about one-fifth of the $25 billion the White House was requesting for border wall construction and other border security measures at the beginning of the year.

As a result, the House passed a bill along party lines appropriated $5.7 billion for border wall construction funding over the next two years in the CR.  The bill stalled in the Senate on Friday after failing to gain enough support to pass.  The CR requires 60 votes in the Senate to pass.  Republicans currently hold a narrow majority of 51-49 requiring support from nine Democrat Senators.

Democratic U.S. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware told Margaret Brennan during an interview on Sunday with CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the government shutdown would end when President Trump “recognizes that the bipartisan agreement we came to just last Wednesday that the Senate voted unanimously on is the agreement that ultimately he’s going to have to accept.”

Sen. Coons added that there is “no path towards” the $5 billion for border wall funding in the Senate’s CR.

“There is frankly no path towards his getting $5 billion in American taxpayer money to meet his campaign promise of a big, beautiful wall with Mexico,” Sen Coons said on Sunday.  “There is a path towards our responsibility appropriating about $1.3 billion for border security.”

The Senate met on Saturday to further negotiate measures in the CR to include adequate funding for border wall funding, but was adjourned by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R. KY, until Dec. 27 as not deal seemed likely.

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said on Sunday that it is “possible” the partial shutdown will continue into 2019, according to Bloomberg.

“It’s very possible that the shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress,” Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday,” Bloomberg reported.

Friday’s partial government shutdown is the third in 2018.