Fox News' Chris Wallace Grills Mike Pence on Government Shutdown: 'Isn't It Really That You Just Want The Leverage?'

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace grilled Vice President Mike Pence over the partial government shutdown during an interview today, asking whether it's all really just "leverage" to secure funding for the president's proposed border wall.

During a segment on Fox News Sunday, Wallace's question came after Pence argued "what the American people want us to do is work on their priorities," referring to building a wall on the southern U.S.-Mexico border.

"No, isn't it really that you just want the leverage?" Wallace pressed. "And that you figure if you don't keep the government closed, that then they're going to go nowhere?"

A partial government shutdown — which left approximately 800,000 federal staffers either furloughed or working without pay — went into effect last month after Trump refused to sign a stop-gap measure designed to keep it running through to February because the bill didn't provide funding for the border wall that he promised to deliver during his campaign. Now on its 29th day, the shutdown — which made history as America's longest when it hit 22 days last weekend — continues to drag on due to a stalemate between the president and congressional Democrats leaders over funding for the wall.

"The American people want action on our southern border," Pence argued on Sunday. "They want border security, 800,000 federal workers want us to find a way to open the government."

"You could open the government tomorrow," Wallace repeated several times.

"The House has passed bills to open the government tomorrow. Why don't you sign them and open the government and then you can negotiate about this?" the Fox News anchor continued.

On Saturday, Trump proposed a new deal live from the White House to end the shutdown which involves trading extended protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients for wall funding and other additional border security measures. Before the president even officially made the proposal, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected the deal in a statement where she called it "unacceptable," and a "non-starter."

Pelosi also stated that Trump's deal did not "represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people's lives," referring to the fact that the president only offered a three-year temporary solution for DREAMers — undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before they turned 18-years-old.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also argued that Trump's proposal shouldn't even be considered a deal. "It was the President who single-handedly took away DACA and TPS protections in the first place — offering some protections back in exchange for the wall is not a compromise but more hostage taking," he said in a statement.

Fox News' Chris Wallace Grills Mike Pence on Government Shutdown: 'Isn't It Really That You Just Want The Leverage?' | U.S.