Trump Says Government Won’t Open Without Border Wall ‘Down Payment’

January 24, 2019 - 5:49 pm

WASHINGTON (WCBS 880/AP) — President Donald Trump on Thursday confirmed that he will not accept a short-term deal to reopen the government unless it includes "a large down payment" for his promised border wall.

He also said that he was "just honored" that almost all Senate Republicans voted for his proposal to trade funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall for temporary protections for some immigrants, even though lawmakers rejected the bill.

His comments came hours after the Senate rejected competing Democratic and Republican proposals for ending the 34-day partial government shutdown, which is the longest in the nation's history.

Politico’s Caitlin Emma spoke with WCBS 880, explaining that both proposals to reopen were always expected to fail and were simply a “test vote” to see where lawmakers stood on the issue in order to find a way forward.

However, something interesting did come out of the vote Thursday afternoon.

“The proposal that was backed by Democrats, which would have reopened the government for a couples weeks and would provide no money for his border wall funding, that earned a little bit more Republican support than the Republican backed proposal, the one endorsed by Trump,” Emma explained.

President Trump’s proposal included $5.7 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, which he believes is crucial to national security.

However, speaking after Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi quickly rejected the idea of providing “some big down payment.”

Instead, she suggested a "reasonable" installment on such a barrier might be a way to solve the impasse. She suggested the idea was not a serious one.

She told reporters: "I hope that doesn't mean some big down payment." She said, "That is not a reasonable agreement between the senators."

Asked whether she knows the size of a down payment that Trump might find reasonable, Pelosi replied, "I don't know if he knows what he's talking about."

Trump notes that he is looking for opportunities to end the ongoing government shutdown and did say he would support any “reasonable” agreement made by Republican and Democratic Senate leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer.

(© 2019 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)