Some Democrats Might Be Willing to Buck Party Leadership on Wall Funding

Liberal House members may consider defying Pelosi and Schumer to work with the president to reopen government

Image Credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Although Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) ordered congressional Democrats to stick together in firm opposition against the border wall funding that President Donald Trump wants, some Democrats are now signaling their willingness to work with Trump to reopen the government and fund the wall.

The government partially shut down near the end of December after Democrats refused to give Trump the $5 billion he requested in security wall funding. While many congressional Democrats supported border walls and barriers not long ago, many now claim that such barriers are immoral or unnecessary with Trump as president.

During his first Oval Office address earlier in January, Trump pointedly asked the Democrats, “How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?”

But Pelosi and Schumer delivered joint rebuttals afterward — and refused to accept any deal that includes wall funding. They urged their Democratic caucuses to do the same.

Trump even offered a deal this past weekend that would extend temporary protections for illegal immigrant dreamers brought the the U.S. as children while providing the $5 billion in border wall funding. (Dreamers is a reference to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.) Pelosi and Schumer would not budge, however.

But as the partial government shutdown drags on and federal workers miss paychecks, some Democratic lawmakers are beginning to cave.

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Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, admitted Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week” that he would support some border wall construction on some portions of the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I’m saying that we will sit with the chief, the president, and whomever, and we will work through it,” Thompson (pictured above right) said when asked about his willingness to negotiate on reopening the government.

“I will not rule out a wall in certain instances,” Thompson told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz. “Now the notion that we can’t have barriers is just something that’s just not true, but again, Martha, you have to have a plan and the plan that the president initially started with is not where he is now, and so we don’t know where he will be tomorrow.”

Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) reluctantly expressed a willingness, too, to consider border wall funding — but only if Trump agreed to extend permanent protections to dreamers. Malinowski made his comments on CNN’s “New Day” on Monday.

Related: Americans Elected Trump to Solve the Border Crisis

“The most painful concession for me to make as a Democrat who ran against this kind of stupidity and fear would be money for a border wall. If you want me to consider something like that, I need to see comprehensive immigration reform,” Malinowski said. “I need to see an end to the cruelties of the last two years.”

When CNN anchor John Berman asked Malinowski specifically if he “would at least talk about” supporting border wall funding in exchange for permanent dreamer protections, the congressman replied, “I would talk about it if we expanded it so that it’s really a big deal.”

“If we give President Trump everything that he wants, everything that he wants as a border wall, I want to see immigration reform on the table. I want to see raising the refugee cap,” Malinowski continued.

And Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.) (above left) said Friday on CNN’s “Newsroom” that she would vote for border barrier funding to end the shutdown.

“I mean, I will definitely — I don’t know if it’s steel — I will vote for some money for physical barriers,” said Hill. “There are so many things we can do in terms of technology, in terms of where we should be investing our money well on border security. It’s a high priority for my district … We understand the need for border security.” Hill represents California’s 25th congressional district; it includes part of northern Los Angeles County and part of eastern Ventura County.

Check out more in the video below:

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