Republican Senator Susan Collins said a government shutdown must be prevented in the dispute over funding Donald Trump’s proposed wall on the U.S. border with Mexico, even as top Senate Democrats said that’s now up to the president.
Collins said she thinks it’s still possible to find a compromise agreement before funding for some federal agencies runs out after Dec. 21, including a deal proposed earlier this year to approve $25 billion for border security over a decade.
“There’s absolutely no excuse to shut down government on this issue or any other issue,’’ the Maine lawmaker said on ABC’s “This Week’’ on Sunday.
But speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,’’ Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said Trump needs to understand there are not enough votes in either the House or Senate for the $5 billion he’s seeking for the wall, a key campaign promise.
“We should not let a temper tantrum, threats, push us in the direction of doing something that everybody — even our Republican colleagues — know is wrong,’’ Schumer said.
Schumer and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi have said they made two offers to Trump to keep funding for border fencing — not the concrete wall Trump wants — at the current level of $1.375 billion.
Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the no. 2 Senate Democrat, said on ABC that whether or not the shutdown happens rides on Trump taking one of those offers, and that he’s not optimistic.
“It’s up to the president to accept this,’’ Durbin said. “I don’t think he will, but for the good of the country, I hope he does.’’
A shutdown could also be averted for now if lawmakers and the president agree to another short-term funding bill — that could last into January — or reach some kind of deal that allows all sides to claim victory.
Trump said during a Dec. 11 Oval Office meeting with Schumer and Pelosi that he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security.”
Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to Trump, echoed that sentiment on Sunday. “If it comes down to it, absolutely” the administration is willing to shut down the government, Miller said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We’re going to do whatever is necessary to build a border wall.”