Durbin: Trump Will Be Shutting Down Gov't If He Insists on 'Outlandish' Border Wall

By Susan Jones | April 24, 2017 | 5:56am EDT
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says President Trump would be shutting down the government if he insists on funding for a border wall in a government spending bill. (Screen grab from CNN's "State of the Union.")

(CNSNews.com) - Because of the broken congressional appropriations process, it has become a familiar story in Washington: Whose fault is it if Republicans and Democrats can't agree on emergency legislation to keep the government funded, in this case, beyond Friday?

Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that President Trump should not expect Congress to give him any money to fund his "outlandish" border wall.

Trump has requested $1.4 billion to get the wall started in the current fiscal year, which runs through September, but Durbin on Sunday called it a political stunt and a poison pill:

"I hope the president will back off," Durbin said.

"To think that he would consider shutting down the government of the United States of America over this outlandish proposal of a border wall, which we can't even pay for at this point, and is opposed by Democrats and Republicans all along the border, that would be the height of irresponsibility. He would not want that to define his first 100 days."

Trump, in two tweets on Sunday, said:

-- "The Democrats don't want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members.

-- "Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall."

Durbin said Democrats are "ready to work and cooperate with Republicans" to keep the government open, but:

"But we told the president and the Republicans weeks ago, don't try any political stunts, don't put any poison pills into this process. Let's just do our responsible, important work of funding this government.

“We know what this wall is all about. This was a promise made by the president during his campaign, and don't you remember, he said the Mexicans were going to pay for it. Now we know it's going to cost $20- to $70-billion for this wall.”

Durbin said Democrats and Republicans representing border areas oppose the idea. "It's a political stunt, an obsession for the president that should not shut down our government."

Earlier in the show, Dana Bash pointed to a Wall Street Journal article noting that no member of Congress representing the U.S. border supports President Trump's request for $1.4 billion to start construction of the border wall this year.

Also appearing on CNN, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly blamed "politics." He said many of these immigration issues "would go away" if those same lawmakers "would take a really long, hard look at immigration, immigration laws, and do what is necessary to solve the problems."

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