White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders fired off a heated press release Thursday blaming Democrats for the shutdown and omitting any mention of a border wall.
“The President has made clear that any bill to fund the government must adequately fund border security to stop the flow of illegal drugs, criminals, MS-13 gang members, child smugglers and human traffickers into our communities – and protect the American people,” she said in a written statement. “The Administration understands this crisis and made a reasonable, common-sense solution to Democrats five days ago – we’ve not received a single response.”
The Senate passed a continuing resolution unanimously to keep the government funded last week, but President Donald Trump threatened a veto since the bill omitted funding for the wall. House Republicans, therefore, did not take it up.
“The President and his team stayed in Washington over Christmas hoping to negotiate a deal that would stop the dangerous crisis on the border, protect American communities, and re-open the government,” Sanders continued. “The Democrats decided to go home.”
It’s not entirely clear which lawmakers remained in Washington for shutdown negotiations. Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) let House members know that no votes are anticipated until the Democrats take over next week. Trump is still there, though White House senior advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump left for the holiday.
“The only rational conclusion is that the Democrat party is openly choosing to keep our government closed to protect illegal immigrants rather than the American people,” she concluded. “The President does not want the government to remain shut down, but he will not sign a proposal that does not first prioritize our county’s safety and security.”
As Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) indicated Sunday, Democrats are willing to compromise on general border security funding, but are adamantly against giving Trump the $5 billion he demands for the wall.
Drew Hammill, deputy chief of staff for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), tweeted out a response to the White House statement:
Democrats have offered Republicans three options to re-open government that all include funding for strong, sensible, and effective border security – but not the President’s immoral, ineffective and expensive wall. (1/2) https://t.co/ObNvHY4Cmf
— Drew Hammill (@Drew_Hammill) December 27, 2018