Even more Democrats have now publicly taken a position against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s opposition to a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, as President Donald Trump considers an emergency declaration to build the wall with executive authority.
Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, now supports funding additional barriers along the border.
“Democrats and Democrat leaders should recognize there may be some additional areas on the border that might require some fencing or steel slats … we already have a lot of it down there already,” Kind said, per the local newspaper report.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), another Democrat, is calling for Democrat leaders to negotiate with Trump on the border wall–but to do so after the government reopens.
“Open the government first, because you can’t negotiate about anything while the government is closed,” Gottheimer said in an interview with CNN. “Then, after the government is reopened, let’s get together at the table and talk about border security which obviously is essential, but also immigration reform and what we can do to fix our immigration system.”
Nonetheless, Gottheimer is pushing his party’s leaders to negotiate. “But you’ve got to come to the table,” Gottheimer said. “And what I’ve been saying now for weeks, and what so many of us have been saying, is we’ve got to actually talk to each other. But you can’t talk while the government is shut down, because there’s no way you’re going to actually have a productive conversation, and it’s not how our government should operate.”
Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK) says she is open to a physical barrier along the border.
“We need to get the government back open again and then let’s have a broader conversation that puts everything on the table in terms of border security,” Horn said, according to a local news report from Oklahoma. “That includes smart technology, that includes perhaps in some places a physical barrier.”
These Democrats join several others, including many freshmen, in pushing for Pelosi to end the shutdown and fund some kind of barrier or wall along the border, as Trump is pushing for. One Democrat, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), even said Pelosi needs to “get in the damn room” with Trump and negotiate to fund the wall. Another, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), said Trump will win the wall fight eventually so Democrats should just give him the money now and end the shutdown.
“I told them the other day, I am a committee chairman, so I’m in the room with other leadership. I told them, ‘You guys are making a mistake. Give Trump the money,'” Peterson said, adding:
I’d give him the whole thing that he wants and put strings on it so you make sure he puts the wall where it needs to be. Why are we fighting over this? We’re going to build that wall anyway, at some time.
In response to the news that all these Democrats are in public opposition to Pelosi’s refusal to fund the wall, former Trump White House adviser and GOP strategist Andy Surabian told Breitbart News that they are waking up to the fact that Pelosi’s position is not tenable in the long term for Democrats.
“Moderate Democrats are finally waking up to the reality that standing lockstep with Pelosi and doubling down on being the Party of open borders and illegal immigration isn’t smart politics,” Surabian said.
It’s not just the wall on which Democrats are not unified. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy noted earlier on Thursday that more than a dozen Democrats have joined House Republicans in backing measures that would ensure furloughed federal workers are paid, even as the shutdown continues.
McCarthy said in an interview with Fox News’ Dana Perino:
What Republicans offered on the floor this week, and this is good news, so we put up three different times to pay the federal employees. When we did it last week, we got six Democrats to join with us. Today, we got 13. So all we need is six more Democrats and I’m finding a lot of them are beginning to break with Nancy Pelosi–when you look at her Chairman of Ag[riculture], he says give Trump the money. The Chairman of Defense, he says yes you should have some barrier. Even Steny Hoyer, the number two, says a wall is not immoral.”
It remains to be seen what happens from here, but the longest government shutdown in U.S. history continues for now with no end in sight after the U.S. Senate failed to pass two different plans on Thursday. The first, offered by Trump, did not garner any Democrat support. The other, a Democrat plan, earned the support of some Republicans but not enough to pass. In the wake of that development, news broke that the White House is drafting a national emergency declaration–but the president has made clear that, while he reserves that authority, he hopes the Democrats in Congress will instead vote to statutorily fund the border wall so he will not need to go that route.