House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not preparing to back down in budget negotiations with Congressional Republicans and President Trump, she told KQED.
The president continues to make the case for his proposed border wall as the issue threatens to bring the government to its second shutdown so far this year. The government is currently operating under a three-week appropriation in which Congress will need to negotiate a budget that Trump has insisted include funding to begin construction of the wall or else he’ll bring the government to a close once again.
The deadline for those negotiations is February 15.
Trump describes the southern border as a threat to U.S. security and claims that criminals, terrorists, and drug smugglers are crossing over in large numbers due to lack of a physical barrier.
Pelosi has remained defiant on the point of the wall but has also now made it clear that she has no intention of allowing another shutdown to take place. The most recent shutdown stretched for 35 days, making it the longest in U.S. history.
“When it comes to a shutdown, there are no winners,” Pelosi said, citing the approximately 800,000 federal workers who went without pay, calling the situation “unconscionable.”
Despite tensions between Democrats and Republicans, plus Pelosi’s own highly-visible contention with the president, she says she is optimistic about coming to an agreement, indicating that Congress should be able to come to a compromise.
“I look to them for guidance. They know the numbers,” she said. “They know the values, they know the options that are there. And I think that they can prevail without any outside interference.”
Republicans kill resolution saying government shutdowns are bad https://t.co/ADGKSnnSVX
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) January 30, 2019
“We are not going to allow them to shut down government again,” the speaker said, referring to Republicans. “Public opinion is our biggest ally in this.”
Despite her opposition to the wall itself, Pelosi has said that she agrees with Trump on the need to stop smuggling activity across the U.S.-Mexico border, but believes there are smarter, more cost-effective ways of doing so.
As negotiations to avert another shutdown continue, Trump seems prepared to act unilaterally to circumvent Congress in funding the wall.
“Democrats, despite all of the evidence, proof and Caravans coming, are not going to give money to build the DESPERATELY needed WALL,” the president tweeted on the issue. “I’ve got you covered. Wall is already being built, I don’t expect much help!”
Trump has stated that he is willing to declare a national emergency in order to pull funding from elsewhere in the government, including the Pentagon, to fund the wall. Legal experts have indicated that a court challenge in such a situation would be immediate, setting the stage for the showdown over wall funding to take another stage soon.