Democrats Make a Plan to End the Government Shutdown, Without Wall Funding

WASHINGTON — House Democrats have agreed on a proposal to end the partial government shutdown that would extend current levels of funding for the Department of Homeland Security for several weeks but would not include money for President Trump’s border wall, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the proposal.

The plan, to be unveiled on Monday, will consist of six spending bills that include funding through the end of the fiscal year, plus a continuing resolution that extends Homeland Security funding through Feb. 8. The House is expected to vote on the package on Thursday, after the new Congress convenes with Democrats in control and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California sworn in as speaker.

While the measures are expected to pass the House, there is no guarantee the shutdown will soon end given the Senate is still firmly controlled by Republicans. Mr. Trump has stuck to his demand for wall funding, a position that would require Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, to break with Mr. Trump and bring the House plan for a vote. Mr. McConnell has already said he would not bring up a measure that does not have the president’s support.

“It’s simple,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Mr. McConnell. “The Senate is not going to send something to the president that he won’t sign.”

Ms. Pelosi, meanwhile, has asserted that Democrats will not cave on the issue of wall funding.

“He’s not going to get a wall,” she said in a recent interview. “But he has to recognize, we are the first branch, Article 1, the legislative branch, and we’re here not as a rubber stamp to the executive branch but are coequal to him.”

On Monday, Mr. Trump again emphasized that the border wall was integral to national security, calling the southern border an “open wound.”

“I campaigned on Border Security, which you cannot have without a strong and powerful Wall,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Our Southern Border has long been an ‘Open Wound,’ where drugs, criminals (including human traffickers) and illegals would pour into our Country.”

By passing only a short-term funding extension for the Homeland Security Department, Democrats would effectively prolong the divisive debate over the wall — and potentially open a path for progressives to push for a broader immigration overhaul.

That could complicate the early days of Ms. Pelosi’s leadership, but Democrats say they hope their plan will draw a sharp contrast between them and Mr. Trump, by projecting an image of a responsible party trying to govern in a capital ruled by a president who thrives on unpredictability.

“I think it will suck some oxygen out of the room — that’s obviously what’s happening here,” Representative Tim Ryan, Democrat of Ohio, said in an interview Monday. “We’ve got to really learn how to play jujitsu with the president and figure out how to take the wall issue and show the American people that we are the modern party who will actually secure the border and also be for a compassionate immigration system that recognizes the benefits of immigration and diversity.”

In the Senate, lawmakers of both parties have been pushing for Congress to play a deeper role in negotiations with the president.

“Democrats and Republicans have worked together toward that end before, it’s going to take us working together to get it done,” Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said Sunday on the CBS program “Face the Nation.” “And that’s what I want to do as chairman of the Appropriations Committee — to reach out to the Democrats, get the president on board, get the Democrats on board, and let’s move on and quit fighting and quit blaming each other.”

Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, echoed the sentiment.

“I think Congress needs to take a more proactive and aggressive role in framing a compromise,” he said in an interview. “Frankly, there’s no leadership forthcoming from the president. Just buzzwords and slogans.”

http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js