An Illinois Congressman is urging President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to come to an agreement to keep government workers on the job while his counterpart in the Senate offered a warning about the president possibly using emergency powers to build a border wall.
U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis told federal workers in Springfield that he wants to avoid another partial government shutdown, that he blames both parties for the last one and that a compromise is needed to avert another closure on Feb. 15.
Davis said he’d like to be optimistic and say that another shutdown was unlikely. But that’s not the case. He said he’s not convinced ongoing talks can keep workers on the job.
“This shutdown is different from all others because there’s absolutely zero pressure on the legislative branch during the shutdown,” Davis said.
He also said both sides need to work out a deal, including Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. He noted Pelosi and Schumer haven’t been back to the White House since a televised meeting Dec. 11.
“Guess how many times the Speaker and Leader have been to the White House since then? Zero,” Davis said.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, who was also in Springfield, called Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to build more walls along the southern border a poison pill. Durbin said the president got $1.3 billion for border funding last year and sought $1.6 billion in an appropriations bill. Durbin said that a 20 percent increase would be considered “healthy” in Washington D.C. However, Durbin said that Trump’s more recent insistence on $5.7 billion for walls, fences and barriers isn’t realistic.
“To go 300 percent, to me, that’s a figure just grabbed out of thin air,” Durbin said.
He said that if Trump were to use executive powers to declare a national emergency to get funding for the wall, it would set a bad precedent that neither party would like.
“If he can use these emergency powers for his view of border security, some Democratic president can use those emergency powers for their view of climate change,” Durbin said.
Durbin is on a bipartisan conference committee that is working on a deal that would avert another government shutdown on Feb. 15. He said the two sides agree on most of the issues, but wall funding was a poison pill that would have to be sent to party leaders for a decision.