U.S.

Will Trump Get His Wall? Democrats Have Shown 'Willingness to Try to Meet Additional Border Security Needs,' Senator Says

Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said his party had been willing to compromise with President Donald Trump on the issue of border security, though Democrats refused to allocate any of the $5.7 billion demanded by the White House to fund the wall.

The federal government has been shut down since December 22 over the issue of funding for the border wall. Democrats, who have a majority in the House and are willing to fund other border security measures, will not approve any budget that includes money for a wall, which they see as an expensive and ineffective political gimmick.

Trump insists his wall is essential for border security and said the shutdown would take “as long as it takes.” The president previously said he would be “proud” to shut down the government over the issue of border security.

Read more: Trump wants to make himself “a king and a tyrant” by usurping Congress, top Dem says

“I’m all for additional, smart border security,” Warner told Wolf Blitzer on CNN on Monday night. “Twenty-first-century security. Technology, drones, electronic fencing, whatever the experts say we need.

“What I’m not in favor of though is holding 800,000 federal employees hostage, who won’t get their paychecks come Friday; hundreds of thousands of contractors who even when the government reopens won’t be reimbursed at all; literally thousands of businesses who are close to national parks who have missed weeks now of high tourist trade.”

Warner also said he’s worried “about the fact that our Coast Guard, who’s not been paid for weeks, is supposed to be interdicting both undocumented immigrants and drugs and narcotics. I wonder how many folks after they don’t get paid on Friday are going to come to work on Saturday.”

He urged Trump to reopen the government: “This is a crisis that was manufactured by Mr. Trump. I think there is willingness to try to meet additional border security needs but let’s not do it with this ongoing threat of the government being shut down.

“Why is he playing with all these people’s lives as political pawns on a political issue that, frankly, let us fight over but don’t hold these other folks hostage.”             

The president is considering bypassing Congress and using his national emergency powers to fund and build the wall, which was a flagship policy of his 2016 campaign, along with the promise that Mexico would pay for it. The White House said the border issue amounted to a national crisis. “We can do it,” Trump said.

“We will oppose any effort by the president to make himself a king and a tyrant,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, said on Monday while visiting the border, The Washington Post reported. “The president has no authority to usurp Congress’s power of the purse.”

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