President Donald Trump made it clear that if Congress didn’t try to reach a border security solution that included wall funding, he wouldn’t support it.
“If the committee of Republicans and Democrats now meeting on Border Security is not discussing or contemplating a Wall or Physical Barrier, they are Wasting their time,” he tweeted.
If the committee of Republicans and Democrats now meeting on Border Security is not discussing or contemplating a Wall or Physical Barrier, they are Wasting their time!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 30, 2019
Trump was referring to the bipartisan border security committee that Congress created as a way to negotiate a deal to avoid another shutdown in a few weeks. Just before Trump’s tweet, news surfaced that a deal already looked unlikely before the committee even met.
According to Politico, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was open to “whatever works” to keep the government from shutting down again. Some Democrats seemed unlikely to negotiate over Trump’s border wall, though, even if it came as part of a deal to provide legal protection for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.
“We want modern solutions to border security, not 11th-century solutions,” Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) said, according to Politico.
According to Fox News’ Chad Pergram, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sought an “alternative border security bill,” which her party kept under wraps during the shutdown.
20) What does Pelosi want in border security conf cmte? What is acceptable to Hse Dems? Fox is told the key Democratic ideals in the conf committee will emanate from an alternative border security bill which Democrats worked on in private during the shutdown – but never released
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) January 30, 2019
Before the shutdown ended, Pelosi had already called the wall “immoral” and refused to give Trump his desired amount of money to build it. The two sides were unable to reach a compromise even after Trump offered a deal that covered DACA in exchange for wall money.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also indicated that he wouldn’t support a package that included funding for Trump’s wall.
Schumer on border security conference committee:
I hope we should come to an agreement…I’m very hopeful..we’ll see if the President moves off of his hard and fast position
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) January 29, 2019
As IJR previously noted, Trump signed a continuing resolution on January 24 to end the most recent shutdown. However, it only opened the government for three weeks, during which he hoped Congress would reach an immigration compromise.
The initial shutdown started over a failure to compromise on Trump’s requested $5.7 billion in border wall funding but ended in response to an outcry over federal employees losing pay. Trump has indicated that he will build a southern border wall regardless, whether it’s through receiving congressional approval or using his emergency powers.
Trump has been adamant about building a southern border wall and framed the controversy in moral and humanitarian terms. He has long highlighted the impact of drugs, crime, and other impacts of illegal immigration on the nation.
“BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL,” Trump tweeted on Sunday alongside a video of people discussing the issues surrounding illegal immigration.
Watch the video below:
BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL! pic.twitter.com/yDdCG5DCxn
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2019
According to the Congressional Research Service, Trump has a number of potential legal avenues for building the wall. He would likely face legal challenges, however, and a court could block his decision pending further litigation.
The president is facing immense political pressure to build the wall, as it was his top campaign promise and the topic of one of his supporters’ most prominent chants at rallies (“Build the Wall!”). He’s already encountered conservative backlash for reopening the government and, according to a new survey, could lose nearly half of his support if he fails to deliver on his key promise.