WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that House Republicans should support funding the Interior Department in a Friday vote so that it can reopen because they originally proposed it.
While Republicans proposed the legislation, Pelosi said she believes they refuse to support it to show solidarity with President Donald Trump’s refusal to end the government shutdown without getting $5.7 billion for a border wall.
“We are just saying to them take yes for an answer. This is what you have proposed. Why are you rejecting it at the sake of the health and safety of the American people?” Pelosi said.
Pelosi pointed out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has backed these bills along with others, and other members of Congress should do the same.
A spokesman for Rep. Mark Walker said the funding bills proposed by Democrats in the last two weeks were not originally supported by House Republicans.
“These are sham votes that are not about ending this shutdown,” Walker press secretary Jack Minor said. He predicted they will not be supported in the Senate and would be vetoed by Trump, who has demanded $5.7 billion to build a border wall in exchange for reopening the government.
Pelosi said Democrats want strong border security, but a wall won’t be effective. Border control should aim to secure ports of entry because that is where 90 percent of drugs enter the U.S., she said.
“We need to scan cars coming through. We need increased technology. We need to facilitate immigration and trade,” she said.
She said whenever Democrats have come to an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security, the Trump administration changes the deal.
Minor said Democrats have been willing to compromise on border security proposals, just not the wall.
“They are unwilling to even negotiate in good faith,” Minor said, “House Republicans are ready to open the government and secure our borders, just as we voted to do the week before this shutdown started.”
Pelosi also criticized Trump for hurting veterans, saying their credit ratings will be hurt because of lost pay and benefits during the shutdown.
The California Democrat also criticized Trump for his response to the state’s wildfires and threat to withhold funding, pointing out he would be punishing his own voters. She condemned Republican lawmakers for looking the other way.