In the midst of a government shutdown caused by a budget battle over financing border security, President Donald Trump is telling officials and legislators that he will not sign a bill that reaches his desk with only $ 1.3 billion. assigned to border security, according to the sources involved in the negotiations.
A White House official said Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer did not immediately reject the offer the White House made last Saturday night, which included more than $ 1.3 billion, but less than the $ 5 billion that Trump initially wanted. . But during a call made this week, Schumer told the White House that they do not expect to accept or present a counter proposal for the White House proposal, a second official added. A spokesperson for Schumer provided this reading of that meeting: “The vice president came for a discussion and made an offer, Unfortunately, we are still very far apart.”
Asked on Sunday whether the president will sign or veto a bill that Democrats approve, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told CNN’s Dana Bash about “State of the Union” that “depends on its content “, but added that Trump is” ready to negotiate. ”
“He wants to come to an agreement on border security, where are they now? Nancy Pelosi is in Hawaii,” Conway said. “And negotiation by definition has to include both sides, it’s in the … it’s in the White House, it’s in Washington ready to negotiate.
“The president likes the $ 5.6 billion that was in the House package,” Conway said. “His interim chief of staff and his vice president have offered less than that as a compromise, we have not heard anything in return.”
In regards to the type of border security that Trump is seeking to obtain funds in an agreement, Conway did not offer details, but he told Bash that “it is anything, it is all of the above”.
During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly insisted that Mexico finance the wall. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell said he will not submit a vote to the floor unless the president endorses it.
“We pressed the pause button,” McConnell said on the day the government planned to partially close, “until the President, from whom we will need a signature, and the Senate Democrats, from whom we will need votes, reach an agreement.” .
Trump, who has been in Washington for the Christmas holidays after canceling a vacation at his private Florida club, plans to have lunch with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday. Graham told Bash in the same program that he hoped to end the closure by offering incentives to Democrats to vote for wall funds.
“The Democrats will not give us money for a wall, border security, without getting something for themselves,” Graham said.
Trump’s outgoing chief of staff, John Kelly, who has not been involved in the closing negotiations, said in an interview published on Sunday that the wall Trump is hitting the Democrats is not really a concrete wall and has not been from the first days of the administration. .
“To be honest, it’s not a wall,” Kelly told the Los Angeles Times. “The president still says ‘wall’ – many times, frankly, he’s going to say ‘barrier’ or ‘fences’, now he tends to the steel slats, but we left a solid concrete wall at the beginning of the administration, when we asked the people what they needed, and where they needed it. “