(CNSNews.com) - "Thankfully, President Trump appears to have backed down from his position for billions in direct appropriations for a border wall," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Wednesday.
Schumer said Democrats will support a short-term continuing resolution introduced by Republican leader Mitch McConnell to keep the government running through February 8.
The C.R. contains no new money for Trump's long-promised border wall. But Schumer said it's not true that Democrats are "against all border security." They just don't want Trump's wall:
Now, we Democrats have opposed massive appropriations for a border wall for several reasons: it's not effective compared to other border security measures. Expert after expert has said that.
There's no plan to build it. The president asked for $5 billion, sent us no plans; where it would be, how much it would cost, each part, what it would be made of?
There is no plan to deal with eminent domain. There are lots of people on the Texas border and other borders who don't want to give up their land. They've said they'll fight it in court; that will take years. We have not heard a peep out of the administration on how to deal with that.
And above all, the president promised Mexico would pay for it, not the American taxpayer. It was a campaign issue, yes, but throughout, the president said Mexico would pay for it. He never campaigned on Americans paying for a massive border wall, ineffective as it would be.
So Democrats have been perfectly clear: we want smart, effective border security -- but that's not a wall.
Schumer also warned the Trump administration not to "reprogram" funds approriated to other areas of government to build a wall.
"Let me be very clear: the administration cannot reprogram funds appropriated by Congress for the full wall without our assent. To do so would violate Congress' Article I powers. They cannot do it on their own, and the House and Senate will not approve a wall from reprogrammed funds or anything else. It won't happen.
Schumer also disputed Trump's argument that a new trade deal with Mexico could fund the wall: "There is nothing in the new agreement that stipulates Mexico must devote any resources to the United States. And any 'savings' from a trade deal -- if there are any savings -- don't go to the treasury, they go to American businesses and American taxpayers. Ultimately, the president would have to tax the American people to fund his wall -- Mexico ain't footing the bill."
Trump, apparently responding to Schumer's remarks, tweeted on Thursday:
"The Democrats, who know Steel Slats (Wall) are necessary for Border Security, are putting politics over Country. What they are just beginning to realize is that I will not sign any of their legislation, including infrastructure, unless it has perfect Border Security. U.S.A. WINS!"
In a second tweet, Trump wrote: "With so much talk about the Wall, people are losing sight of the great job being done on our Southern Border by Border Patrol, ICE and our great Military. Remember the Caravans? Well, they didn’t get through and none are forming or on their way. Border is tight. Fake News silent!"