Democrats are livid about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s continued refusal, on their behalf, to engage in any negotiations with President Donald Trump over his planned wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), a freshman from Michigan, is publicly urging Pelosi to drop the games and “get in the damn room” with Trump and negotiate on the wall.
“We all have a fire under us to get something done,” Slotkin said, per a local news report. “We’re trying to still figure out the dynamic between all of us, and the leadership is still trying to figure out how to manage this very, very energetic and outspoken class.”
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have flatly refused to negotiate at all over the border wall amid what is now the record longest government shutdown in U.S. history, lasting more than five weeks. About a quarter of the federal government shut down before Christmas over the impasse, when Democrats refused to provide the necessary votes to fund the beginning $5.7 billion of construction of Trump’s wall on the border. The shutdown lasted through the holidays into the new year and new Congress, and as it drags out, Pelosi and Schumer continue to refuse to back down or even talk about the wall.
Trump faced the nation with his first-ever Oval Office address, televised nationally on all the networks, which cut into regular programming to carry it, a couple weeks ago, in which he made the case that the nation faces a crisis on the border. Pelosi and Schumer, in their much-panned response, downplayed the situation and blamed Trump for escalating to this point.
Since then, Pelosi has threatened to cancel President Trump’s scheduled State of the Union address before Congress next Tuesday, Jan. 29, even canceling a security walkthrough that the administration is pushing to continue, while the president and his team insist the State of the Union will still be given on Jan. 29. Further complicating matters is the fact that President Trump waited until Pelosi and other top Democrats had boarded a U.S. Air Force bus on Capitol Hill that would take them to a military jet for a government trip to Afghanistan and Europe to assert his authority as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to cancel their trip, saying Pelosi and Democrats should stay in Washington to end the shutdown instead.
Slotkin is not the only Democrat speaking out, but she is certainly one of the loudest. Per the New York Times, she says she is open to physical barriers along the border:
As someone who worked on preserving the homeland her entire life, I’m ready to talk about homeland security. I don’t think we need a wall from sea to shining sea. But am I willing to talk about more fencing and more drones and technology and radar and border agents? Absolutely.
At a town hall in New York, freshman Democrat Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY) pushed for a compromise with Trump.
“There is common ground,” Delgado said, according to a local news report. “I don’t think there’s much disagreement on the fact that we do have to figure out how to secure our borders. We do have to figure out how to course correct our immigration system, it is flawed, it is broken, we do need to figure out some concrete ways how to solve the problem and do so in a collaborative and cooperative fashion, absolutely.”
Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT) even praised the president for his latest proposal of a temporary extension of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in exchange for the wall–something the president laid out this past Saturday.
I’m glad the President now seems willing to discuss solutions for #DREAMers. I’ve voted 8 times to reopen the government. Let’s do it already and follow through on strong border security and immigration reform including a permanent fix for #DACA. #utpol
— Rep. Ben McAdams (@RepBenMcAdams) January 20, 2019
The U.S. Senate is expected to take up the president’s bill this week, but it remains to be seen if enough Democrats in the Senate will support it to ensure it reaches final passage. The bill needs to garner 60 votes, and there are only 53 Republicans in the majority, so assuming all 53 GOP senators stay on board, it would need at least seven Democrats. If the bill gets through the Senate, its fate is uncertain at best in the House. When President Trump rolled out the idea, Pelosi said it was a “non-starter.”
But that’s not the only idea circulating. According to Politico, Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) is pitching a plan to offer Trump a vote on the wall in February if he reopens the government now. Democrats are livid with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s continued refusal, on their behalf, to engage in any negotiations with President Donald Trump over his planned wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
Politico’s Rachael Bade and Burgess Everett wrote:
A group of centrist House Democrats, eager to end the shutdown and sick of political posturing, is pressing Speaker Nancy Pelosi to counter President Donald Trump’s immigration proposal with her own potential compromise. The group, led by Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia, is asking the California Democrat to offer Trump a vote on his border wall sometime in February if he signs a bill reopening the federal government, according to a draft copy of the letter obtained by Politico.
Basically, the Luria plan–which Politico writes is being circulated by Democrats who represent red and swing districts–would guarantee House action on the border wall in the form of debates and votes immediately following a reopening of the government. Trump has, as Politico notes, already rejected such an idea when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) pitched it, but he may be open to it if Democrats are actually on board now.
More importantly, however, this letter and the other comments that keep emerging from a disunited Democrat Party on the border wall demonstrate how much heat Democrats are taking for keeping the shutdown going. Politico’s authors write that the letter “illustrates the pressure [these Democrats] are under to end the shutdown.”