WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged caution amid a looming partial government shutdown.
“I think a government shutdown is not a good option. That’s my view,” McConnell (R-Ky.) said at a news conference on Tuesday.
McConnell went on to say: “We’ve been down this path before and I don’t think we’ll go down this path again.”
McConnell said he and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) met earlier in the day to discuss appropriations and President Donald Trump’s request for a $5 billion border wall. McConnell said he put an offer on the table he believed was fair but Schumer declined. McConnell did not say what the offer was.
Trump had said he would veto any spending bill that does not include money for the wall but appears to have backed off from that position.
Prior to the meeting, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders hinted on Fox News that the administration might be able to secure money for the wall from funds Congress previously allocated.
Article I Sec. 9 of the U.S. Constitution states that only Congress can authorize and/or reprogram funds.
House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters Tuesday that they reject the plan, which they said involves placing $1 billion into a “slush fund” that the administration could use for unspecified immigration enforcement.
Pelosi and Schumer have said they will not agree to provide more than $1.3 billion for border security and have instead pitched two-short term funding proposals to avert a shutdown. Neither provides money for the wall.
Funding for nine executive departments will expire at midnight on Friday if an agreement is not reached.
When asked to comment on the possibility of a partial shutdown Tuesday, Trump said that it was too early to say whether one would take place.
“We’ll see,” Trump said.
When asked if $5 billion for the border was still a requirement, the president replied that the U.S. continues to need border security.