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.
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.”
Price celebrated Trump’s end of the government shutdown calling his proposed wall “foolish” shortly after it ended Friday.
Trump’s shutdown of the federal government has been one of the most irresponsible chapters in American political history. His reckless demand that Congress pay ransom for his foolish border wall left 700K federal workers without pay & millions more without services they rely on.
— David E. Price (@RepDavidEPrice) January 25, 2019
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.
Honored to be named to the conference committee to negotiate funding for DHS. We will stand firm against President Trump’s bullying and vitriol — and ensure our immigration solutions are effective, grounded in evidence, and respect human rights. https://t.co/rioeWl3Y5Y
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) January 28, 2019
— Rep. Henry Cuellar (@RepCuellar) January 10, 2019
Aguilar has also come out against the wall tweeting two weeks ago that a border wall would not make the southern border secure.
There are effective ways to make sure our southern border is secure — building @realDonaldTrump‘s wall is not one of them.
— Rep. Pete Aguilar (@RepPeteAguilar) January 14, 2019