This Thursday at a press conference, US President Donald Trump said that a bipartisan committee’s plan to avoid another government shutdown will be a “waste of time” if it doesn’t include a border wall, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hinted that she’s open to some new fencing but not a wall to boost border security.
Trump has threatened a new government shutdown after Feb. 15 if a new spending bill doesn’t fund a wall or physical barriers. He also is considering whether to declare a national emergency and bypass Congress to get funds for a wall at the border with Mexico.
“On Feb. 15th, the committee will come back and if they don’t have a wall, I don’t even want to waste my time reading what they have because it’s a waste of time,” Trump said in the Oval Office on Thursday. “Because the only thing that works for security and safety for our country is a wall”.
Trump did not specifically cite the prospects of another shutdown or an emergency declaration, but told Republicans “I’ve got you covered” because the “wall is already being built, I don’t expect much help!”
House Democrats on Thursday provided a detailed offer that would provide no funds for border barriers, though it shows the party is willing to provide billions in new money for technology and personnel. A bipartisan conference committee on border security held its first meeting Wednesday in an effort to negotiate a deal, and staff talks are continuing.
“There’s not going to be any wall money in the legislation,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday at her weekly news conference.
There already are vehicle barricades known as Normandy fencing along the border, and “if the president wants to call that a wall, he can call it a wall,” said Pelosi of California. “Is there a place where enhanced Normandy fencing would work?” she said, adding that members of the bipartisan conference committee should “have that discussion”.
The president also told reporters in the Oval Office that he’s “not waiting for this committee,” adding that work on a wall is already proceeding. “I keep hearing the words that we’ll give you what you want but we’re not going to give you a wall. If they don’t give us a wall, it doesn’t work. Without a wall it doesn’t work”.