McConnell says Senate will vote on stopgap to avert shutdown – without new border wall funding
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Wednesday the Senate will consider a stopgap measure to continue funding the government and avert a shutdown later this week – but it won’t include President Trump’s desired $5 billion for border wall funding because of the “reality of our political moment.”
“Later this morning, we’ll introduce a continuing resolution that will ensure continuous funding for the federal government,” McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor. “The measure will provide the resources necessary to continue normal operations through February 8th.”
The announcement comes as Congress faces a Friday deadline to fund a portion of the government or risk a partial shutdown. Lawmakers had been at a standstill over the president’s demands for $5 billion to fund the border wall.
The stopgap measure doesn’t include new funding for a border wall – something Democrats have opposed.
McConnell, though, ripped into Democrats Wednesday for rejecting “an extremely reasonable offer yesterday” to provide $1 billion for border security. He called the compromise offer “sensible policy.”
“I’m sorry that my Democratic colleagues couldn’t put partisanship aside and show the same good-faith flexibility that the president has shown in order to provide the resources our nation needs to secure the integrity of our borders and the safety of American families,” he said.
WILL TRUMP FORGO BORDER WALL TO AVOID GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?
Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi said Democrats will support the measure, though complained that it should fund the government for longer.
“This is a missed opportunity to pass full-year funding bills now," she said. "However, Democrats will be ready to fully, responsibly fund our government in January, and we will support this continuing resolution.”
Still, there could be complications from House Republicans in getting it passed.
House Freedom Caucus spokesman Darin Miller told Fox News that the group of conservatives will try to amend any spending bill so it funds the border wall.
“They see this as the last real chance to try and keep their promise on this issue,” Miller said.
In tweets on Wednesday, the president said the wall will be built “one way or the other.” He again insisted he could order the military to build the wall if Congress doesn’t approve funding.
“One way or the other, we will win on the Wall!” Trump said.
Trump – who famously campaigned on Mexico paying for the wall – also argued Mexico is “indirectly” funding the wall through the new trade deal between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
“Mexico is paying (indirectly) for the Wall through the new USMCA, the replacement for NAFTA!" he said. "Far more money coming to the U.S. Because of the tremendous dangers at the Border, including large scale criminal and drug inflow, the United States Military will build the Wall!”
At the White House on Tuesday, there were signs that the administration was backing down on its previous tough demands for the $5 billion funding. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Tuesday they were “disappointed” that the Senate hadn’t voted on anything, and said the White House was looking at “every avenue” to find additional funding -- including having funds redirected or "reprogrammed" from other departments.
“President Trump has asked every one of his cabinet secretaries to look for funding that can be used to protect our borders and give the president the ability to fulfill his constitutional obligations to protect the American people by having a secure border,” she said.
But Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, said on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday morning that Trump isn’t “softening” his position on funding for the wall, though, and emphasized it’s up to Congress to present a deal to the president.
“He has a responsibility to keep the government moving forward and he has a responsibility to get border security,” said Conway. “If he could do it by himself – he would’ve done it already.”
Without a resolution, more than 800,000 government workers could be furloughed or sent to work without pay, disrupting government operations.
Fox News’ Peter Doocy, Chad Pergram, Sally Persona, Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.