Speaker Nancy Pelosi has reversed course after refusing to draw any hard lines in the ongoing conference negotiations over an impending homeland-security-spending bill, telling reporters Thursday on Capitol Hill that “there’s not going to be any wall money in the legislation.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi tells @jparkABC she will “of course” allow a floor vote on any bipartisan border security proposal crafted by appropriators, but adds, "there's not going to be any wall money in the legislation." https://t.co/jXTO08zNnB pic.twitter.com/k3mWStCUpM
— ABC News (@ABC) January 31, 2019
The 17-member bipartisan, bicameral conference committee was created to negotiate a compromise after President Trump agreed last week to sign a three-week spending bill, which did not include any border-security funding, to reopen the government after the longest shutdown in history. The committee must reach a deal and the president must sign it before funding lapses on February 15 or another shutdown will ensue.
Pelosi’s comments echo those made by members of her caucus 0n the committee following its initial meeting Wednesday, in which they reportedly expressed willingness to consider funding a number of technology-based border-security measures but did not offer to provide any of the $5.7 billion Trump has long demanded for the construction of additional physical barriers.
“If you’re asking if there is any money for the border wall? No, there is not,” Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D., Calif.) said at a press conference following the meeting.
Democrats also reportedly offered to provide funding to hire up to 1,000 additional customs officers, as well as additional homeland-security agents to combat drug smuggling.
President Trump has publicly cast doubt on the ability of the conference committee to negotiate an acceptable spending bill and has suggested he may unilaterally appropriate the funds for the construction of a border wall by declaring a national emergency.
“I personally think it’s less than 50-50, but you have a lot of very good people on that board,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal when asked about the likelihood that the newly formed committee could reach an adequate deal.
Republicans on the committee, however, remain publicly optimistic about the prospect of securing border-wall funds.
“Everybody talked about the need for funding for a good, strong border-security package — that means people, technology and a border barrier — so I’m hopeful we can get to a good solution,” Senator John Hoeven (R., N.D.) told reporters Wednesday after the group’s first meeting.