Trump Rejects Proposal to Temporarily Reopen Gov’t

Graham hoped to get president to agree to a short-term bill

Image Credit: Andrew Burton/Staff/Getty Images / Shutterstock

President Donald Trump said Monday he is against a proposal to reopen the government only temporarily while lawmakers continuing negotiating about financing for a border security wall.

Trump has made clear he will not sign any more spending bills that do not include funding for a border wall.

The refusal of Democratic leaders to give him anything is what eventually led to a government shutdown on December 22.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) had hoped to get the president to agree to the short-term spending bill — but he rejected the idea.

“I did reject it, yes,” Trump told reporters outside the White House before leaving for a trip to New Orleans today, as the Associated Press reported.

“I’m not interested. I want to get it [the border wall and spending issue] solved. I don’t want to just delay it.”

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Related: Trump Walks Out of Gov’t Shutdown Meeting with Dems

Trump has long promised to build a security wall along the southern border and is fighting to get $5.7 billion to do just that.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have been at the forefront of opposing that plan. Schumer has only offered to provide $1.3 billion that cannot go toward the border wall.

The shutdown is now in uncharted territory, having reached a record length of time. It has already impacted some federal workers. There is also concern over what economic stresses the shutdown is causing. Graham had hoped to overcome those issues by reopening the government for several weeks while continuing talks on border security.

“I would urge him to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks, before he pulls the plug,” Graham said on “Fox News Sunday” to host Chris Wallace. “See if we can get a deal. If we can’t at the end of three weeks, all bets are off. See if he can do it by himself through the emergency powers.”

Trump also told reporters behind leaving on his trip on Monday that he is not looking to call a national emergency to get border wall funding.

He recently said during a press conference he might if talks fail. The move could possibly allow the president to free up billions in federal emergency funds for his wall. But he is also likely to face lawsuits, too.

Trump and congressional leaders from both parties have continued discussions to overcome the stalemate. They held meetings throughout the shutdown but have made little progress. Trump has repeatedly reaffirmed his commitment to funding the border wall since the shutdown began while opponents have been equally opposed.

Related: Border Patrol Union Makes the Case for Trump’s Wall

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he wouldn’t bring up any bills the president would not sign. He had made earlier attempt to avert the government shutdown, such as a short-term spending bill to fund the government through February 8.

House Democrats have made a few attempts of their own to end the shutdown. They passed two bills intended to fund most of the government while leaving room to debate border security. They later announced a plan to pass four separate appropriations bills. But without border wall funding, they are unlikely to get far unless the president relents.

The federal workers impacted by government shutdowns are typically paid when the government reopens. Those having to work without compensation are guaranteed their back pay once it is over.

Lawmakers also usually pass legislation around a shutdown, which also provides back pay to furloughed workers. Congress recently passed a bill to make those back payments permanent.

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