WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said there would not be any money for President Donald Trump’s border wall in the deal being worked out by a bipartisan negotiation team.
“There’s not going to be any wall money in the legislation,” she told reporters. The top Democrat in Congress said if Republicans have suggestions about adding more ports of entry or technologies, those kinds of things would be negotiable.
“It is not a negotiation for the president to say … ‘it doesn’t matter what Congress says’,” she said at a news conference.
“The president wants to have Congress be completely irrelevant in how we meet the needs of the American people? No, c’mon. Let them work their will. I’m an appropriator.”
The negotiating committee is trying to reach a compromise on the $5.7 billion down-payment Trump has sought for his promised wall along the border. The committee will likely have to wrap up its work around Feb. 10 to meet the Feb. 15 deadline set when Trump and lawmakers agreed last week to end a 35-day partial government shutdown.
Pelosi also rejected as a “non-starter” the Republican president’s offer of a temporary three-year protection for young “Dreamers” in exchange for a permanent wall.
She said it was tantamount to saying: “These are protections that exist, I’ll take them away. I’ll give them to you temporarily, you give me a wall permanently.”
“A non-starter,” Pelosi said.
She said she does not believe a bill to permanently end shutdowns should be part of current border security negotiations.
(Reporting by Amanda Becker and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Susan Heavey and James Dalgleish)