Politics

Here’s What Dems Have Said While Negotiating Wall Funding — It Doesn’t Look Good For Trump

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images and Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images

Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent

Democratic members of Congress tasked to a bi-partisan bicameral committee formed to negotiate a funding solution for a border wall have taken firm stands against it in the past few weeks.

From the U.S. Senate, these Democratic members include Sens. Patrick Leahy, Dick Durbin and Jon Tester. From the House of Representatives, these members include Reps. Nita Lowey, Lucille Roybal-Allard, David Price, Barbara Lee, Henry Cuellar and Pete Aguilar.

The committee was convened after President Donald Trump pledged to reopen the government Friday after a 34-day standoff with Democratic lawmakers centering around his demand for $5.7 billion in border wall funding.

Trump instead said he would allow the government to reopen for three weeks while a bi-partisan committee tried to forge a solution to his demand, saying that if they could not come to a solution he would declare a national emergency and build the wall with military funds.

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer pose for photographers after concluding their joint response, to President Trump's prime time address, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer pose for photographers after concluding their joint response, to President Trump’s prime time address, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Trump himself expressed doubt that the negotiations would bear fruit, telling The Wall Street Journal, “I personally think it’s less than [a] 50-50” chance that a deal with Congress can be reached. Trump added that he doubted he would accept any congressional deal that offered him less than $5.7 billion in funding.

The president’s optimism is not unfounded. Leahy, the top Democratic lawmaker on the Senate Appropriations Committee, most recently called a border wall “an ineffective vanity project.” But Leahy’s colleagues, Tester and Durbin, have said in the past that they support border security funding but refused to negotiate with Trump while the government remained closed. (RELATED: Sources: Trump ‘Not Backing Down’ Ahead Of Senate Vote, Seeks Republican ‘Unity’)

Tester and Durbin’s support of “border security,” however, is little cause for optimism, a White House official involved in congressional negotiations told TheDC. The official noted that border security funding to Democratic lawmakers did not mean any funding for an actual barrier along the border.

Lowey, the top Democratic lawmaker on the House appropriations committee, declared, “We are not funding Trump’s border wall” when she took the helm of their position. Lucille Roybal-Allard similarly gave a floor speech in late December opposing funds for a border wall calling it an “immoral, ineffective and expensive wall.”

President-elect Donald Trump (C) and President Barack Obama (R) are greeted by members of the Congressional leadership including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as they arrive for Trump's inauguration ceremony at the Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by J. Scott Applewhite - Pool/Getty Images)

President-elect Donald Trump (C) and President Barack Obama (R) are greeted by members of the Congressional leadership including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as they arrive for Trump’s inauguration ceremony at the Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by J. Scott Applewhite – Pool/Getty Images)

Price celebrated Trump’s end of the government shutdown calling his proposed wall “foolish” shortly after it ended Friday.

Lee similarly pledged to “stand firm” against Trump’s demands in her role on the conference committee. Border region representative Henry Cuellar has also said in the past that there are more effective ways to secure the border than Trump’s proposed wall.

Aguilar has also come out against the wall tweeting two weeks ago that a border wall would not make the southern border secure.