Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California is likely to become the next Speaker of the House of Representatives when Democrats take control next year. At a press conference on Thursday she said that she did not support President Trump’s proposal to build a border wall with Mexico. She called the proposed border wall “immoral, ineffective, and expensive” and promised it will not be funded under her watch. Then she added:
But Pelosi has to be careful because even as she takes a strong position, the president is threatening to shut down portions of the U.S. government if wall funding is not provided in the appropriations legislation passed by the House.
A shutdown would hurt the country and make both parties look bad in the eyes of the American people. To deal with Trump’s threats, Pelosi suggested that Congress “punt” on the idea at this time. She said that a debate over the president’s demand for the wall should be delayed until next fall in order to avert the government shutdown that Trump has threatened.
However, Pelosi made clear that she is still rejecting Trump’s $5 billion demand for border security. The Democratic leader told reporters she would refuse an offer from Trump and congressional Republicans to use the so-called ‘Dreamers’ as a bargaining chip. GOP leaders have said that they might be willing to permanently resolve the standoff over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in exchange for the requested money for a border wall.
“They’re two different subjects,” Pelosi said. She made clear that she wants to separate the debate over extending DACA from a fight in Congress over the border wall.
— CSPAN (@cspan) December 6, 2018
The House of Representatives and Senate passed a two-week stopgap funding measure Thursday afternoon, extending current government funding until December 21. This buys them more time to negotiate a long-term deal, although prospects for doing so are not very good.
The future Speaker said there should be some areas where agreement could be reached, and other areas where the funding decisions could be postponed through the use of continuing resolutions.
“We have before us all of the factors, all of the issues to make a decision. I think that what we can do that makes sense is to pass the six bills where the members of the appropriations committee have come to terms during ongoing negotiations,” Pelosi proposed. “Then have a continuing resolution only for Homeland Security as we go forward, and that’s pretty much where our position is now.”
Actually, a yearlong continuing resolution on funding for homeland security is a great idea, since that is the area where the two parties currently disagree very strongly. Also, she reminded everyone that the president could extend the DACA program on his own, and that would be the right thing for him to do. The young immigrants involved in DACA should not be held hostage by Trump in order to coerce Congress into funding his wall.
Rep. Pelosi then concluded her remarks to reporters with some optimistic comments, saying:
“We can move forward with this. We have a responsibility, all of us, to secure our borders, north, south, and coming in by plane, on our coasts — three coasts, north, south and west. And that — that’s a responsibility we honor, but we do so by honoring our values, as well.”