WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she expects President Trump to eventually sign a bill that doesn’t include his requested border wall funding “because does he want to have government closed forever?”
“I mean, what’s this about? I know he doesn’t believe in government, I know that he doesn’t know that much about what is at risk to shut it down, but I think that it would be — and let’s not talk about what might happen,” she said. “Let’s talk about what we can do right now to keep government open. There is strong bipartisan support to do that. The only obstacle is the president of the United States.”
Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference that she last heard from Trump in an “amiable” phone call Tuesday afternoon after their testy on-camera Oval Office exchange.
The continuing resolution, used as a stopgap measure to keep the government open, expires just before Christmas. The House and Senate have reached agreement on everything except border wall funding.
The House included $5 billion for border security in its funding bill, while the Senate version includes $1.6 billion. Trump wants $25 billion but has indicated he’ll currently go for the $5 billion; Congress has not yet approved any money to begin work on any of the wall prototypes Trump was shown in California earlier this year and has not approved any concrete wall. Construction projects announced by the administration have consisted of renovations and improvements to existing fence lines.
The two options Democrats gave Trump were to extend all seven appropriations bills with a continuing resolution or pass six of them while using a continuing resolution to extend the disputed homeland security bill.
Pelosi said she talked with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and neither had received an answer. She reiterated that Dems won’t budge on $5 billion for a border wall.
Trump tweeted early this morning, “I often stated, ‘One way or the other, Mexico is going to pay for the Wall.’ This has never changed. Our new deal with Mexico (and Canada), the USMCA, is so much better than the old, very costly & anti-USA NAFTA deal, that just by the money we save, MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL!”
Pelosi said she didn’t understand his argument. “What money? What money? That money will be used to pay for the wall. The money businesses make? What money is he talking about that’s going to go pay for the wall? It just isn’t — it just doesn’t measure up,” she said.
She noted that Trump didn’t just tweet that, but he used it as an argument in the closed-door negotiations with Dem leaders.
“He said that. That — but it doesn’t make any sense. Does that sound familiar to you? It doesn’t make any sense. That, basically what he’s saying, any benefit our economy might have from a trade agreement, a revised trade agreement with Mexico, or and Canada, would be spent on the wall instead of growing our economy and increasing paychecks for our workers,” Pelosi said. “The American people are still paying the price. Mexico is not paying for this wall. But maybe he doesn’t understand how a trade agreement works for him to say such a thing.”
“For the president to be cavalier about cash flow in paycheck-to-paycheck families is just something that we hope he — I hope, I pray, that he will resist,” she added. “And I did tell the president that I prayed for him. He said, ‘That’s news. Go tell the press.’ So I am.”