Tis the season for giving, but not in Congress.
Democrats in the Senate are holding up government funds which have caused the government to shut down.
While lawmakers are still looking to negotiate a deal with President Trump over a funding proposal, Top Senate Republican and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley said that the money Trump is requesting for the wall is minuscule in comparison to the $4 trillion the federal government spends each year.
In a tweet on Saturday, the Senate Judiciary chairman said the $5 billion Trump is asking for and the $5.7 billion the House has already passed would amount to less than one-tenth of one percent of the federal budget.
“Fed govt spends $4 trillion+ per yr. Seems to me we can find way to fund security measures dem senators supported b4,” Grassley said in the Saturday tweet. “Why shut down govt over Christmas for less than 1/10 of 1% of annual fed govt spending? Need border security + Stop Schumer Shutdown.”
“Only way I know to stop a Schumer shutdown is 4 Schumer &Trump to be locked in a room &reach agreement on $ 4 border security,” Grassley said in an earlier tweet. “Obv must stop drug dealers, human traffickers& criminals fr entering country. What’s big deal Sen Schumer? U have voted to spend 25b on wall-why not $5B?”
Republican Senator Rand Paul similarly said the $5 billion was meager compared to the $50 billion a year the federal government spends for building efforts in Afghanistan.
“Right now we’re spending $50 billion a year in Afghanistan. We could easily find $5 billion for a wall if we weren’t so busy building and rebuilding Afghanistan,” Paul said during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
During an interview with Fox News, Office of Management and Budget Director and incoming Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said the shutdown could “go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress.”
Mulvaney also asserted that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is weeks away from reclaiming her role as speaker of the House, is intentionally stalling negotiation efforts to resolve the partial closure, which began on midnight Saturday and affects a quarter of the federal workforce.
“It’s very possible this shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress,” Mulvaney said. He added that federal workers will receive pay through that date, and that only future pay periods will be affected.
“I think there’s an implication here for Nancy Pelosi’s election for the speakership,” Mulvaney continued. “I think she’s now in that unfortunate position of being beholden to her left wing, to where she cannot be seen as agreeing with the president on anything until after she’s speaker.”
The Senate is set to reconvene on Dec. 27, and sources on both sides of the aisle have told Fox News that Washington could be in for a prolonged shutdown.
During the interview, Mulvaney commented that Trump was open to building a “steel slat barrier,” rather than a concrete wall. It is unclear if this will lower the total estimated cost of the border wall, but could appease some Democrats who are against a wall.
“That’s what we want to build,” Mulvaney said, referring to Trump’s tweet. “In the Democrats’ mind, that is not a wall. So they have offered us $1.3 billion to build the barrier that we want — but then they go on TV and say there’s no money for the wall. We’ve already told the Democrats we want to build what the president tweeted out. It doesn’t have to be a 30-foot tall concrete [wall].”