Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) has gone against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other fellow Democrats, saying President Donald Trump’s $5.7 billion border wall isn’t an issue of morality, but one of efficacy.
Reiterating what he said on Fox News Sunday weeks ago, Coons called the proposed wall “a piece of infrastructure” Friday on CNBC’s Squawk Box, adding that hundreds of miles of barriers already in place along the U.S.-Mexico border “have made a difference” in reducing illegal immigration. But Trump’s border wall plan just isn’t a good one, he says.
“The larger question is how should we most efficiently and effectively spend billions of dollars more,” Coons said, noting that Democrats have voted to spend billions on border security in the past.
As for reaching an agreement with Republicans to avoid another partial government shutdown, Coons said a deal has to happen soon.
“We frankly really need one,” Coons said. “It’s got to happen this weekend. It is in the country’s best interest.”
As the February 15 deadline to fund the government inches closer, Trump has made no concessions to Democrats in his push for border wall funding.
“Simply put, walls work, and walls save lives,” Trump said in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. “So, let’s work together, compromise and reach a deal that will truly make America safe.”
Trump has previously suggested that he might declare a national emergency at the U.S. border to secure the $5.7 billion in funding to build the wall, his biggest campaign promise.
“I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency,” Trump told reporters outside of the White House in January. “I haven’t done it yet. I may do it. If this doesn’t work out, probably I will do it. I would almost say definitely.”
While Pelosi has insisted there would be no new money going to Trump’s proposed wall, she said there was no chance of the government shutting down again.
“There will not be another shutdown,” Pelosi told Politico on Thursday. “No, it’s not going to happen.”
Right now, all hope for averting another shutdown lies in the hands of a bipartisan negotiating committee. Congressional negotiators on both sides said last week that they are close to reaching a deal on border security.
On Friday, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) called the chance of another shutdown “nil, or next to nil” and suggested that there would be money put toward border protection as part of a bipartisan agreement.