President Trump climbed down from his $5.7 billion demand for a border wall on Thursday as his proposal to reopen the government failed in the U.S. Senate.
The president claimed that he technically ‘won’ the vote that failed in Cabinet Room remarks. It didn’t hit a 60-vote threshold necessary to overcome a filibuster.
Trump now says he would take a ‘pro-rated down payment’ on his border wall.
The president personally spoke to lawmakers about a potential agreement. A deal did not immediately emerge, but White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that one was under negotiation.
‘Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Chuck Schumer are meeting now to see whether or not they can work out of the deadlock. As was made clear to Senator Lindsay Graham, the 3 week CR would only work if there is a large down payment on the wall,’ she said.
Responding immediately, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the ‘down payment’ on the House floor, saying, ‘That is not a reasonable agreement.’
It was not clear on Thursday night how much money that Trump was asking for as part of the down payment. Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway insisted that he still wanted the $5.7 billion for the wall that he’s been asking for.
President Trump also issued a vaguely-worded threat about next steps. He said cryptically, ‘I have other alternatives, if I have to. And I will use those alternatives, if I have to.’
CNN reported that the president was preparing to issue a proclamation declaring a national emergency.
Conway told DailyMail.com that Trump has the ‘option’ of issuing such a proclamation but he has not ‘executed on that option’ to this point.
President Trump climbed down from his $5.7 billion demand for a border wall on Thursday as his proposal to reopen the government failed in the U.S. Senate
‘The president has always said he has that as an option. He has not executed on that option, because he would like to work through the legislative process,’ she said. ‘That’s why his team was up there again for hours today. That’s why he was working the phones just a little while ago. I was in there when he was speaking with senators who had cast a vote.’
His acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told DailyMail.com on Saturday that it is the White House’s belief that the president has that power but Trump didn’t want to.
‘I absolutely still believe that the national emergency is still a tool that’s available to the president. He’s just been very candid, very public in saying it’s not his preferred course of action,’ Mulvaney said during a roundtable with reporters.
He said, ‘The best way to fix this is through legislation, which is why our team has been spending so much time trying to come up with legislation. That’s the sum of which you saw you tonight at the speech.
The White House did not respond to a formal request for comment from DailyMail.com on whether Trump was planning to declare a national emergency next.
Conway suggested after a television pre-tape at the White House that Trump could issue one, even though he hasn’t yet.
‘The president has made clear from the beginning, he has the absolute right to do that,’ she said. ‘He has conferred with his legal team as to the absolute legal right to do that, and he has always kept it in reserve.
‘But he would like Congress to do its job, and its jobs is to actually help secure the border. This was meant to be legislative as a solution.’
As she answered questions from assembled reporters, she also slapped back at Pelosi, saying, ‘I know some people call her “Fancy Nancy.” I actually think these days she’s worthy of the title Dr. No.’
‘No is not a negotiation. No is not a serious counter offer,’ she told the press.
Both President Trump’s and House Democrats’ plans to reopen the government failed Thursday as the back-to-back votes went down in flames in the Senate, leaving no end to the government shutdown in sight.
Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Chuck Schumer held hours of meetings that stretched into the evening to see whether or not they could work out of the deadlock.
Senator Lindsay Graham reiterated the White House’s stance that a three-week continuing resolution to temporarily reopen the government would only work if there is also a large down payment on the wall.
The lack of support for the separate bills was predicted yet it played out against high-drama that began with a Saturday afternoon address at the White House by President Trump.
About two dozen House Democrats, including rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and civil rights legend John Lewis, marched across the Capitol and into the Senate chamber to watch the vote while Pence huddled with Republican lawmakers in a room across the hall.
Trump’s plan to reopen the government failed 50-47 and the Democrats’ proposal failed 52-44, more ‘yes’ votes that the president’s bill netted.
Six Republicans crossed over to support the Democrats: Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah.
Each plan needed 60 votes to advance in the legislative process.
Trump repeatedly claimed as he spoke to reporters later that he ‘won’ the vote, even though it fell short of the 60 that were needed to advance.
‘It’s 50-47; we won. But we need 60 votes because of the 60-vote rule,’ he contended.
Vice President Mike Pence was on Capitol Hill to talk with Republican senators before President Trump’s proposal failed in the Senate
House Democrats marched across the Capitol and into the Senate Chamber to watch the vote
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez walks to the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol to watch the vote
House Democrats were expected to drop another plan in the coming hours: one that would offer around $5 billion in border security measures but zero dollars for Trump’s wall.
Pence gave senators no indication of what the president would accept to reopen the government when he met with them.
‘He did not,’ Republican Sen. John Kennedy told reporters after the meeting.
Graham took to the Senate floor after the vote to say he had just spoke with Trump and discussions were underway about a three-week continuing resolution to reopen the government.
‘Just got off the phone with the president. I told him we’re talking about a three-week CR and all of us believe if we had three weeks with the government open … That we could find a way forward to produce a bill that he could sign and that would be good for everyone in the country but we need that opportunity.
‘He gave me some indications of what he wants in a three-week CR that would be good faith, moving forward, that I thought were imminently feasible,’ he said.
McConnell and Schumer were meeting in McConnell’s office to discuss the offer, which Graham said includes money for Trump’s border wall, on Thursday night.
The Democratic plan to end the government shutdown got two more votes than Trump’s proposal
Sen. Lindsey Graham said he talked to President Trump about a three-week plan
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (left) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (right) were meeting in McConnell’s office to discuss the three-week offer
‘To my Democratic friends, money for a barrier is required to get this done. It will not be a concrete wall and the money will be a program to a [Department of Homeland Security] plan that all of you know about and have been briefed on and should approve. You’re not giving President Trump a bunch of money to do anyway he wants to with. He’s got to spend it on a plan the professionals have come up with,’ Graham explained.
‘I want to let the public know I have never been more optimistic than I am now that we can open up the government for three weeks,’ he added.
Earlier Thursday Trump once again insisted on a border wall as his price for reopening the government – and vowed he will not ‘cave’ to Democrats amid reports they are preparing to offer more money for security but no funds for his wall.
Trump fired off his latest defense of his wall in a tweet sent as Pelosi took questions from reporters on Capitol Hill — and said without a border wall ‘it doesn’t work.’
‘Nancy just said she “just doesn’t understand why?” Very simply, without a Wall it all doesn’t work. Our Country has a chance to greatly reduce Crime, Human Trafficking, Gangs and Drugs. Should have been done for decades. We will not Cave!,’ he tweeted.
He acknowledged on Thursday afternoon that he had not spoken to Pelosi since he walked out of a meeting with her in early January at the White House.
President Trump said on Thursday he will not cave to Democrats when it comes to his border wall
Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged the Senate to pass a Democratic bill reopening the government
Trump vowed he ‘will not cave’ on the wall
Trump’s line in the sand came before the Senate held the votes holds on the two separate legislative packages: One includes Trump’s proposal for protection from deportation for Dreams and the $5.7 billion for his border wall; the other on Democrats’ plan to reopen the government that does not fund the wall.
Pelosi, before the Senate votes, said House Democrats had a plan of their own.
‘Within our $49 billion homeland security bill there will be some provisions,’ Pelosi said Thursday morning but declined to get into specific details. She said work was still being done on the legislation.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Democrats are prepared to offer significant new spending on border measures but he, too, declined specifics.
‘We are prepared to spend a very substantial sum of money because we share the view that the border needs to be secure,’ he said.
Pelosi criticized Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for saying he didn’t understand why furloughed workers had to go to food banks
The Democratic version of the bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security could include at least $5 billion for border protection efforts like new technology and more law enforcement agents – but nothing for Trump’s border wall.
Amid those reports Trump took to twitter to attack Pelosi and vow not to cave in on his border wall.
But he misquoted Pelosi when he wrote: ‘Nancy just said she “just doesn’t understand why?”
The speaker was actually quoting the president’s Commerce secretary when she said that.
Wilbur Ross said on CNBC Thursday morning he didn’t understand why furloughed federal workers had to go to food banks and suggested they borrow from banks to make ends meet until they get a paycheck.
‘I know they are, and I don’t really quite understand why,’ Ross said. ‘Because, as I mentioned before, the obligations that they would undertake, say borrowing from a bank or a credit union are in effect federally guaranteed.’
Pelosi was criticizing his ‘let them eat cake’ attitude with her remark.
The longest government shutdown in U.S. history is expected to continue its painful stretch as the Senate takes up bills that would end the shutdown, but neither is expected to get the needed 60 votes
President Donald Trump tweeted again about the border wall Thursday
‘They have Wilbur Ross saying he just doesn’t understand why when he was asked about people going into food lines and pantries and the rest, he said he doesn’t understand why they have to do that. I don’t know is this the let them eat cake kind of attitude or call your father money or this is character building for you, it’s all going to end up very well,’ she said.
The latest salvos, a month into the shutdown, came hours after Trump relented on the State of the Union address after essentially being disinvited by Pelosi to give his speech until after the shutdown is ended.
Pelosi acknowledged that retreat in her remarks Thursday. She called the speech ‘so unimportant to the American people,’ who she said should be ‘hostages to the president’s applause line in a campaign speech.’
‘Thank goodness we have put that matter to rest and we can get on to the subject at hand, open up government so we can negotiate how best to protect our borders,’ she noted.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi withdrew her invitation to President Trump to deliver his state of the union address until after the shutdown
A federal worker stands with a placard reading ‘Will Work For Pay’ as other federal employees stage a rally to call for a vote on the shutdown on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on January 23, 2019
Trump hauled reporters into a meeting on Wednesday just so he could blast her and claim he’d give his speech anyway in an alternative format.
Yet on Thursday afternoon, he said: ‘Well, it’s really her choice. I mean, I would have done it in a different location, but I think that would be very disrespectful to the State of the Union — to pick some other place.
‘I could have done it. I could have gone to a big auditorium and gotten 25,000 people in one day — and you’ve been there many times — but I think that would be very disrespectful to the State of the Union. So what she said, I thought, was actually reasonable: We’ll have the State of the Union when the shutdown is over,’ he claimed.
Amid the lack of an immediate legislative solution to the shutdown, Trump is continuing to insist on a border wall, tweeting Thursday that without a wall ‘there cannot be safety and security at the Border or for the U.S.A.’
‘BUILD THE WALL AND CRIME WILL FALL!’ Trump wrote, continuing to link immigration and crime.
After the failed votes, he said later on Thursday in the Cabinet Room, ‘You need the wall. In fact, I see a lot of the Democrats are all — almost all of them are breaking and saying, “Look, walls are good. Walls are good.” ‘
‘We have to have a wall in order to have border security,’ he insisted. ‘You cannot have border security without a wall. I mean, we can play games, and we can talk about technology.’