House GOP Leaders: ‘Unacceptable’ for Dems Not to Come to the Table on Border Security Negotiations

By Melanie Arter | January 24, 2019 | 6:57pm EST
House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), joined by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) (Screenshot)

( - House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) called on Democrats Thursday to stage an “intervention” with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and urge her to negotiate with President Donald Trump over funding for the border wall.

“We are here as you all know still in shutdown mode, still in a situation where the Democrats won’t even talk, and to be in a position where they’re saying that they want to open the government, that they’re appalled that people aren’t getting paid. We’re appalled that people aren’t getting paid, but we continue to vote to pay our federal workers,” she said, referring to recent votes on bills to pay federal workers during the shutdown.

As reported, only 13 Democrats voted with House Republicans to pay federal workers during the shutdown.

“It is absolutely untenable and unreasonable for them not to even come to the table, and I really hope that the Democrats will recognize soon the damage that Speaker Pelosi’s doing to their party, that she’s doing to this institution, that she’s doing to the House of Representatives and to the United States by absolutely refusing to negotiate, by doing something nobody’s ever done before - cancelling the State of the Union appearance of the president,” Cheney said at a Capitol Hill press conference.

“I think it’s time for the Democratic Party to have an intervention with the speaker and ask her to do what’s right for the nation, what’s right for their party, what’s right for this institution. So we hope they will come to the table, but we have not seen any indication that they’re even willing to be reasonable at this point, and as I said, that’s bad for the nation above all,” she added.


During her weekly Capitol Hill press conference, Pelosi said the Democrats will only agree to negotiations once Republicans open up the government.

"We have asked them over and over again to take yes for an answer," the speaker said. "We are firm in our support for how we secure our borders. Let's have that discussion after we open up government and let us get to work."

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said Pelosi’s stance on border security negotiations her decision to cancel the president’s State of the Union address was “unacceptable.”

“You also heard the majority leader say that they are not going to talk during this impasse. How do you solve an impasse when the president of the United States continues to put offers on the table to solve this problem, to reopen government and secure our border and the Democrats’ response is that they’re not going to talk? That’s unacceptable,” the congressman said.

“It’s unacceptable that the speaker of the House wants to hold the State of the Union hostage because she doesn’t want the American people to hear the message that the president has about the need for border security. You know they talk about border security, but talk is cheap until you’re actually willing to put the money in place that our experts who are risking their lives say is needed, and that number is $5.7 billion,” Scalise said.

Scalise wondered, “If they’re not willing to support that request from our experts, what number are they willing to support to keep this country safe?

“So far they’ve yet to put a single offer on the table, and now their response is that they’re not going to talk. That’s unacceptable. It’s not the way to solve this problem. It’s time for them to actually sit down and talk with the president and solve this crisis,” he said.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said what President Donald Trump offered on DACA was “very reasonable for border security.”

“The president has proposed something that’s very reasonable for border security, but also dealing with DACA. Is DACA important? I believe it is. The speaker of the House last year - Nancy Pelosi - she holds the record for the longest speech ever given on this House floor. It was over DACA when she was shutting the government down for it,” he said.

McCarthy said Democrats said no to paying federal employees and then chose to take Friday off instead of staying to work on a compromise.

“First, no to paying the federal employees, and second to close early and go home. I’m staying this weekend. I’m requesting that the leaders get together tomorrow - all of us. Stay in the room til we solve this problem. The president is right. It only takes 45 minutes. The president is right that he found two issues out there that both parties care a deep part about,” the minority leader said.

“He’s correct that our government is designed to find common ground that not one person can always have their way. Unfortunately, I think the speaker thinks differently. It was a low point I think in history for the speaker of the House to uninvite the president of the United States,” he said. “It’s a low point that we are still shutdown. It’s even lower that you would end Congress and have people go home and not solve this problem.

“I listened to the majority leader today. He did not list one bill outside of suspensions that they will bring up next week. How can that be a majority party? How can the majority party refuse to communicate, refuse to even willing to sit in the room? So I’m requesting that we all leadership get in the room tomorrow and make a commitment to one another that we stay in that room until we solve the problem, because I believe we can solve it rather quickly,” McCarthy said.


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