Sen. Cruz: The Only Thing Democrats Are Willing to Consider Is 'Zero, Zero, Zero'

By Susan Jones | January 14, 2019 | 6:07 AM EST

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) (Photo:Screen capture/C-SPAN)

( - Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said he hopes to see "Washington coming together and opening up the government" when he returns to the Capitol on Monday.

But any move to end the partial government funding lapse will require Democrats to move off their "no compromise" stance, Cruz told NBC's "Meet the Press":

The president has said, over and over again, I've been in the room when he's said it, that he's more than willing to compromise. He's more than willing to meet in the middle.

The reason we have a shutdown is -- let's go back to December. In December, the then-Republican House passed funding for the entire federal government. It included $5.7 billion for an additional 234 miles of steel barrier.

When it got to the Senate, Chuck Schumer and the Democrats filibustered that bill. Every Democrat said, no. We will not allow the government to be funded, so long as they're building even a single mile of barrier. That's why we have a shutdown.

And that's not a reasonable position. And the president's position has been, he's perfectly happy to negotiate, to compromise. He's said, many times, doesn't have to be $5.7 billion. He could find some other number.

But the Democrats have said, no. The only thing they're willing to consider is zero, zero, zero. That is not reasonable. And that's why we have a shutdown.

Cruz said the Democrats have to be willing to give up "their extreme position."


"There is a difference between one side, the Democrats, who are saying, we will not move. We will not compromise. We will not negotiate, and the other side, the president, who is saying, I'm happy to negotiate. And what he's proposing, the Democrats have already voted for.

"They're playing politics, because they hate Trump. And that's not a good enough reason for Chuck Schumer and the Democrats to shut down the government."

Host Chuck Todd asked Cruz why Trump didn't press for wall funding when Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress, rather than trying to "jam it in" after the election.

"I don't think it's the president's fault that Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are being political," Cruz responded.

"You remember the fairly remarkable Oval Office meeting between Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and the president. And Nancy Pelosi said then, she said, Mr. President, you can't pass this in the House. She basically said, I dare you. You don't have the votes.

"He said, yes, I do. And she said, no you don't. I dare you. So he turned around. He took it to the House, which was Republican. And they passed it. And, Chuck, here's the ridiculous thing about the position of Senate Democrats. This is not substantive. They voted for it before.

"Chuck Schumer and every single Democrat in the Senate, in 2013, voted for 350 miles of additional border fencing and border security. They've now shut the government down on 234 miles. And so, I think an awful lot of people are asking, well, if you voted for 350 miles, why would you force a shutdown on 234? That is not reasonable.

"And the president remains willing to come together and compromise. But so far, the Democrats don't want to do that."

Cruz accused Democrats of holding federal workers hostage. He noted it would take only five Democrats in the Senate to help Republicans end the "Schumer shutdown."

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