Trump demands payment on wall as Schumer and McConnell try to reach shutdown deal
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, right, talks to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, while walking towards the Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018.
Even as the senators tried to strike a deal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi voiced opposition to Trump’s terms. She told reporters that a deal including wall money “is not a reasonable agreement between senators,” according to CNN.
Funding for nine U.S. departments lapsed on Dec. 22 as Trump demanded $5.7 billion to build the wall — and Democrats refused his request. Sanders did not mention a specific amount of funding the president seeks or if he still wants $5.7 billion.
Outside of McConnell’s office Thursday, Schumer said, “We’re talking,” but no more to reporters. Even the dialogue marks an improvement in talks: Negotiations essentially came to a halt after Trump walked out of a meeting with Schumer and Pelosi on Jan. 9.
Trump noted that he has “other alternatives” he can use to construct the border wall. He has previously threatened to declare a national emergency if he cannot get Congress to approve funding for the project. The White House is reportedly preparing a draft emergency declaration, according to CNN.
Sanders’ statement followed the failure of two plans in the Senate — one backed by Republicans, and one put forward by Democrats. The Democratic measure, which did not include funds for the barrier, earned more support, including votes from six Republicans, in the GOP-held chamber.