Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) told ABC's "This Week" Sunday that President Trump was holding Americans hostage over his demand for $5 billion in funding for the border wall. The debate over that funding resulted in a partial government shutdown last week.
“Yes, we need comprehensive immigration reform,” Jeffries, who is the incoming chair of the House Democratic Caucus, acknowledged. “Yes, we need to enhance border security.”
In response to a question about why the $2.5 billion compromise on border wall funding from the White House was not a good option, he called any amount of money for the wall a waste.
“We are not willing to pay $2.5 billion or $5 billion and wasting taxpayer dollars on a ransom note because Donald Trump decided that he was going to shut down the government and hold the American people hostage,” he said. “That’s unreasonable.”
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries on government shutdown negotiations: "What Donald Trump and the Republicans want to do is waste $5 billion in tax payer money on an ineffective, medieval border wall that is a 5th century solution to a 21st century problem" https://t.co/BxmoVXvCTk pic.twitter.com/j4ISDQsaSi— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) December 30, 2018
“At its core, our responsibility in government is to manage public money,” he emphasized. “We can either manage it efficiently or we can waste taxpayer dollars. And what Donald Trump and the Republicans want to do is waste $5 billion in taxpayer money on an ineffective medieval border wall that is a fifth-century solution to a 21st-century problem.”
House Democrats have reportedly decided on a strategy to reopen the government but maintain current levels of funding for border security.
“Democrats plan to pass a stopgap spending bill to fund the Homeland Security Department through Feb. 8,” the Washington Post reported Monday. “The bill would extend the existing $1.3 billion spending level on border fencing and other security measures, far short of the $5 billion Trump has sought to build new walls along the U.S.-Mexico border.”
However, they noted that the Senate passed a similar stopgap bill in December but Trump rejected it. The GOP-controlled Senate will not be advancing a bill on the issue that does not have President Trump’s backing.
“It’s simple: The Senate is not going to send something to the president that he won’t sign,” Don Stewart, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s spokesman, told the Post in an email.
President Trump tweeted Monday morning doubling down on his support for the wall and asking Democrats to come back to D.C. early to pass a bill to fund it and reopen the government. He also pointed out that Democrats have supported the idea of a wall in the past despite their claims that it is outdated technology.
I’m in the Oval Office. Democrats, come back from vacation now and give us the votes necessary for Border Security, including the Wall. You voted yes in 2006 and 2013. One more yes, but with me in office, I’ll get it built, and Fast!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2018
It’s incredible how Democrats can all use their ridiculous sound bite and say that a Wall doesn’t work. It does, and properly built, almost 100%! They say it’s old technology - but so is the wheel. They now say it is immoral- but it is far more immoral for people to be dying!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2018