republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:
Schumer “took it off,” Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the assistant Democratic leader said on January 23. “He called the White House yesterday and said it’s over.”
The offer was made during negotiations to end a government shutdown by approving a temporary funding measure through February 8. Senators voted 81-18 on January 22 to pass the temporary funding measure in exchange for assurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to work on a deal to grant legal status to roughly 700,000 youthful aliens protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“The wall offer is off the table,” Schumer told reporters on January 23. “That was part of a package” that’s now defunct.
Later that day, Trump responded by tweeting: “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA. We must have safety and security, together with a strong Military, for our great people!”
Trump also tweeted that day: “Nobody knows for sure that the Republicans & Democrats will be able to reach a deal on DACA by February 8, but everyone will be trying....with a big additional focus put on Military Strength and Border Security. The Dems have just learned that a Shutdown is not the answer!”
USA Today reported that the White House provided a different account of the January 19 meeting, stating that Schumer offered legislative approval for the wall, but not actual funding.
Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman, said on January 23 that the Schumer offer “never existed.” “You can’t rescind money you never really offered in the first place,” Gidley said on Fox News.
Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) disputed Schumer’s recollection of the meeting wherein the border wall offer was discussed. “They claim that some crazy deal was made,” Cotton said of Democrats. “And then when we say no deal was made, they accuse Republicans and the president of reneging.”
After the talks between the president and the Senate minority leader broke down, the Senate rejected a short-term spending bill, creating a partial government shutdown. Senate Democrats voted against the measure because it did not include protections for the “Dreamers,” young people brought into the country by illegal-alien parents, who now have temporary legal status under the Obama-era DACA program.
A report from NPR noted that last week, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told a caucus of Hispanic lawmakers that he had persuaded the president that his long-promised border wall was unnecessary. As a candidate, Kelly said, Trump was not “fully informed” of the border situation when he pledged to build the wall and since then, the president's views on the subject had “evolved.”
The chief of staff reiterated those same points during an interview on Fox News, NPR reported.
With Republicans holding a slim majority in the Senate (51 out of 100 senators), one may wonder why all of these extensive negotiations are necessary in order to approve a budget. It is true that not every Republican was on board with the recent budget deal. In a recent article, we quoted Senator Rand Paul’s explanation for why he could not vote for the continuing resolution: “I’m just not voting to exceed the spending caps, and I’m not voting for $700 billion deficits annually.” However, even if the budget bill could have been improved to the point where Paul and two other Republicans who were opposed to it could have voted for it, Democrats still would have been able to sustain a filibuster to stop it.
Under current Senate rules, a majority of 51 senators is not enough to pass legislation that the minority party wants to filibuster. It is for this reason that journalist Art Harman contributed an opinion article to The Hill on January 24 in which he raised the following points:
Harman quoted one of Trump’s tweets expressing support for exercising what is called “the nuclear option” (eliminating the filibuster): If the “stalemate continues, Republicans should go 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long-term budget, no C.R.s!”
The article concluded by admonishing members of Congress: “If the Senate ends the legislative filibuster, Congress had better pass a budget that includes full funding for the wall, and then pass actual budgets by September 30 in regular order.”
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