Democrats dug in their heels Sunday on President Trump’s threat to shut down the government unless he gets money for his border wall, saying if the president makes good on his demand, the American people will suffer.
But the White House contends American citizens are already suffering — with or without a shutdown — because of the rise in illegal immigration.
The two sides showed no sign of willingness to compromise Sunday, with just four days left to broker an agreement before the federal government partially shuts down.
“We should not let a temper tantrum — threats — push us in the direction of doing something even our Republican colleagues know is wrong,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer told NBC.
The New York Democrat said Republicans in Congress “have to have the guts” to tell the president he’s wrong for refusing to fund the government unless he gets $5 billion for his border wall.
“President Trump should understand there are not the votes for the wall in the House or the Senate. He is not going to get the wall in any form,” he said.
And the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Rep. Elijah Cummings, Maryland Democrat, said voters want the government to help them, not hurt them, suggesting a shutdown will politically damage Republicans.
“Whenever I hear a president say to the American people at Christmastime, ‘I am going to shut down your government,’ it pains me because I know it’s going to make a bad Christmas for a lot of people,” he told CNN.
But White House adviser Stephen Miller said Mr. Trump will do “whatever is necessary” to get the money to build the border wall.
“They can either choose to fight for Americans — working class — or to promote illegal immigration. You can’t do both,” Mr. Miller said of Democrats in an interview Sunday with CBS.
Congress is running up against a Friday deadline to finish funding the government, with several news reports suggesting they may look to a short-term “continuing resolution” that funds the government at current levels to get them past the holidays and into the new year.
Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, told ABC she wants to see lawmakers take up a proposal that provided $2.5 billion this year and over the next 10 years for border security, which would fund a border fence, increase technology and patrol agents along the southern border.
“There is absolutely no excuse to shut down government on this issue or any issue. I have suggested we revisit a compromise proposal we brought forward earlier this year,” she said on Sunday, breaking with her party’s leader.
House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Mr. Schumer have offered Mr. Trump two other options, and they both include some money — roughly $1.3 billion — for the wall.
But it remains unclear whether the president will accept any compromise after his televised stand off with the two Democratic leaders in the Oval Office last week, where he demanded the $5 billion and claimed he isn’t afraid to shut down the government.
“I am proud to shut down the government for border security,” Mr. Trump said.