House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday there is nothing she would trade for President Donald Trump’s border wall, setting a hard negotiating stance in advance of an expected December showdown over the issue.
“It happens to be like a manhood issue for the president, building a wall, and I’m not interested in that,” the California Democrat said during a discussion at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics.
Roll Call reports,
Pelosi emphasized Democrats do support border security but they would prefer to look at strengthening existing security measures as part of a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws.
“We can’t allow him to say we’re not interested in protecting the border,” Pelosi said of Trump’s frequent attack on Democrats for their refusal to support the wall. “That isn’t the only way to protect the border. In fact, it’s probably the worst way to protect the border.”
Trump is itching for a fight over border wall funding, and GOP leaders who convinced him to defer that battle until after the midterm election have said they’re prepared to push for the wall in December appropriations negotiations.
Seven of the 12 annual appropriations bills, including the Department of Homeland Security spending bill where any wall funding would be appropriated, are operating a continuing resolution that expires Dec. 7. The other five bills were signed into law before the Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year.
Pelosi’s stance on the wall likely won’t matter much in the House, where Republicans during the lame duck session should have enough votes on their side to pass the $5 billion Trump requested for the wall for fiscal 2019.
Senate Democrats will be the real obstacle to Trump securing wall funding during the lame duck, but Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer has not ruled out negotiating over it.
If the appropriations negotiations get deferred into the next Congress, then Pelosi could have more leverage if Democrats win the House majority in November.
“I think if the election were today we would win the majority … wave or tsunami, we’ll see in three weeks,” Pelosi said.
Asked about working with Trump if Democrats are in the majority and whether she could believe anything he tells her, Pelosi paused before answering.
“It’s an interesting dynamic when you have the gavel,” she said. “It just makes all the difference in the world in the leverage you have in your conversation.”
Continue reading at RollCall