Pelosi Wants To Keep White House Out Of Border Wall Negotiations

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged the White House to stay out of congressional negotiations on funding for border security during a Thursday weekly press availability.

“I ask the administration to be as non-interventionist as I am,” she said in regard to negotiations.

The congressional negotiations are set to expire on February 15 when President Donald Trump is expected to declare a national emergency at the southern border in order to begin construction on a border wall if his desired level of funding is not reached on Capitol Hill.

The negotiations are a result of a 35-day government shutdown lasting from late December to January when Trump demanded $5.7 billion in funding for his proposed wall. Pelosi and Democratic minority leader Chuck Schumer refused to give in to his demand and offered only $1.6 billion in border security funding, with the stipulation that no funding could be used for new construction on a wall.

Trump agreed in late January to temporarily re-open the government for three weeks until February 15 and allow for a period of negotiations, stipulating that a national emergency declaration is all but certain if his terms are not met. But the negotiations have been fraught from the beginning with many of the Democrats on the conference committee saying unequivocally they will not support wall funding.

A national emergency is not entirely certain, however, with Vice President Mike Pence saying he could not guarantee there will not be another government shutdown.

Pelosi said during week’s press conference that no wall funding would be included in the deal prompting Trump’s response that the negotiations are perhaps “a waste of time.”

The Speaker has, however, offered mix signals on her level of involvement in the talks, telling POLITICO Wednesday that she would accept whatever the conference committee offers up in terms of agreement but pledged that no funding for a wall would be included.

Schumer similarly said before the formation of the conference committee that the White House should not be involved in the negotiations. Trump brushed off Schumer’s sentiment in an exclusive Oval Office interview with The Daily Caller last week, saying, “I don’t blame him,” but noted that “without our involvement, a deal is not going to get done.”  (RELATED: Trump Says DACA For Wall Deal ‘Highly Unlikely’)