Congressional Democrats scoffed at a new Republican proposal to allocate $5 billion in federal funds for President Donald Trump's desired wall along the southern border.
The GOP plan unveiled on Wednesday would pledge $2.5 billion in 2019 and $2.5 billion in 2020. Democrats say it's a non-starter.
Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, called Trump's wall "wasteful."
“No matter how many years you spread it over, $5 billion for President Trump’s wasteful wall is too much money. While we are willing to negotiate on how best to secure our border, we will never support wasting tax dollars on a wall designed to gin up the Republican base.”
In the Senate, Appropriations Committee co-chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) trolled the president, reminding him of his promise that Mexico would pay for it.
“He’s asking the taxpayers to give him money . . . for something when he gave his solemn word that taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay, the Mexicans would pay, and has threatened to shut down the government in I guess an attempt to bail out the Mexicans from his promise. It doesn’t make much sense.”
Trump has threatened to shut down the federal government -- which will run out of money on December 7 if a funding agreement is not reached -- if Congress refuses to give him funding for a wall.
"I don't do anything ... just for political gain," Trump said Wednesday. "But I will tell you, politically speaking, that issue is a total winner. People look at the border, they look at the rush to the police, they look at the rock throwers and really hurting three people, three very brave Border Patrol folks — I think that it's a tremendous issue, but much more importantly, is really needed. So we have to have border security."
Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) lamented the stalemate and accused Democrats of wanting a shutdown.
“You know they have a lot in these bills. So do we,” Shelby said. “And I think most of them would want to pass our appropriation bills. Now the question is are they willing to shut it down over this. We’re trying to avoid that.”
So did the White House, which focused its sights on Senate Minority Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
"Another Schumer shutdown would not surprise anyone, it has become the new norm in Washington," remarked Meghan Burris, a spokeswoman for the White House Office of Management and Budget. "Democrats would rather shut the government down and leave millions of Americans less secure than work with the Administration to solve this unchecked crisis. It is evident there is a need to secure the nation's borders and the president has made it clear that is his number one priority."
Schumer stressed if there is a shutdown, Trump bears responsibility.
“If President Trump wants to throw a temper tantrum and shut down some departments and agencies over Christmas, that’s certainly within his power, but he has two more sensible options available to him. It would be a shame if the country suffered because of a Trump temper tantrum.”
Public opinion appears to be siding with Democrats.
@damianpaletta @Fahrenthold I'm going to Taco Bell for lunch. And I am not paying for those nachos! Believe me. Tac… https://t.co/xcOMBPbezT— let's go for a drive (@let's go for a drive)1543523957.0
@damianpaletta @Fahrenthold "Shutdown fight is getting ugly as Dems dig in and accuse White House of trying to hood… https://t.co/Ttkk2OXKaR— Malicious Captain Kangaroo (@Malicious Captain Kangaroo)1543524528.0
@damianpaletta I approve 100% of this strategy. ZERO DOLLARS FOR THE WALL. If you want it, convince Mexico to pay.… https://t.co/PWwEwf4xYu— Billy Bragg's Liquid Aminos (@Billy Bragg's Liquid Aminos)1543527072.0
@damianpaletta @Fahrenthold We should NOT pay one dime for that ridiculous wall.— Mary Gallitano (@Mary Gallitano)1543524292.0
@damianpaletta @Fahrenthold Agreed, I called my GOP Senator @SenCoryGardner and said not one cent of taxpayer money… https://t.co/K3x3dD55dl— Renee (@Renee)1543525987.0
@damianpaletta @Fahrenthold It is stunning that he was elected on promise to build a wall at no cost to Americans,… https://t.co/3ACBlQAaGp— Gordon Jones (@Gordon Jones)1543523937.0
@damianpaletta Thank you @SenatorLeahy. Hold him to his word— Totem.Soul (@Totem.Soul)1543523119.0
@damianpaletta @Fahrenthold Even though every member of my family will be sent home if the govt shuts down, potenti… https://t.co/3mkoWKrT6D— B Brooks (@B Brooks)1543524521.0
Some, however, think Schumer is a fool for believing Trump would negotiate anything in good faith.
@damianpaletta @Fahrenthold The idea that @realDonaldTrump is capable of "solemn word" is, of course, ridiculous. T… https://t.co/c0RnjdGncY— Patrick Moore (@Patrick Moore)1543525784.0
@damianpaletta He's just wanting to give all his friends work...Then get his kickback.. greedy..— Shelly Dawn McCarver Morris Shields (@Shelly Dawn McCarver Morris Shields)1543524548.0
Others say Democrats should leave it to the Republicans, who have a majority in both chambers until January.
The Washington Post noted:
"GOP House and Senate leaders who have met with Trump in recent weeks say the president is adamant about getting $5 billion. At the urging of GOP leaders, Trump agreed to put off a fight over the wall until after the midterm elections, and now he is determined to get it while Republicans still retain control of both chambers of Congress."
@politico but Republicans hold the House & Senate majority. Let them get their own votes. This is on them.— Stormy Stephanie (@Stormy Stephanie)1543404222.0
@politico Let him do it . . . and pay the price.— Carolyn Johnson (@Carolyn Johnson)1543404480.0
@WilkowMajority @realDonaldTrump These guys have always been great at “leading from behind”. This is the same as w… https://t.co/dy64ikN2EZ— AR Quitugua (@AR Quitugua)1543505335.0
Expect another shutdown fight over the next week.