A day after members of a congressional panel began working on a deal to keep the government open past a Feb. 15 deadline, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reiterated Democrats’ opposition to funding President Donald Trump’s border wall.
“There’s not going to be any wall money in the legislation,” Pelosi told reporters on Thursday.
Pelosi also rejected the idea of trading temporary protections for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in exchange for a permanent border wall, as Trump proposed earlier in January.
“Those protections were there until you decided to take them away, so now you’re going to come back and say, ‘I’ll give them to you for three years’ ― that is not a protection,” she said. “A protection is something that has certainty to it.”
Trump reached an agreement with Democrats last week that offered a temporary reprieve from the 35-day partial government shutdown and tasked a bicameral committee with reaching a broader border security deal.
The president didn’t get his wall money, but said he was granting Democrats an opportunity to further consider his demand for $5.7 billion in funding for his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump has repeatedly insisted that the measure is necessary to lower crime and suppress the supposed influx of drugs across the border.
The committee held its first meeting on Wednesday to start working on a new border deal, but gained little ground.
Trump tweeted that if the lawmakers were “not discussing or contemplating a Wall or Physical Barrier, they are Wasting their time!”
Meanwhile, Democrats said they support enhancing security measures — including improvements to ports of entry and additional aircraft, vessels and Border Patrol agents — but oppose new construction of a wall on the border.
“Smart border security is not overly reliant on physical barriers, which the Trump administration has failed to demonstrate are cost-effective compared to better technology and more personnel,” House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday.
On Thursday, Trump claimed on Twitter that the “Humanitarian Crisis taking place” at the border is “worse even than Afghanistan.”
“The Wall is getting done one way or the other!” he tweeted.
In response to Pelosi’s comments, Trump cited migrant caravans traveling to the U.S. from parts of Central America and claimed that “Nancy Pelosi will be begging for a wall.”
“If they’re not going to give money for the wall... it’s not going to work,” the president said, according to a pool report.