WASHINGTON, D.C. - A looming shutdown of a number of federal government agencies was averted Thursday, before Friday’s deadline, but lawmakers are facing another deadline in two weeks.
The sticking point is funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. Sen. Doug Jones says the end of the year budget process has generally been reasonable and does include border security funding.
“This current appropriations process that Senator Shelby, Senator (Patrick) Leahy have formed a very bipartisan group, has $1.6 billion,” for border security.
But President Donald Trump has other ideas, tweeting:
Could somebody please explain to the Democrats (we need their votes) that our Country losses 250 Billion Dollars a year on illegal immigration, not including the terrible drug flow. Top Border Security, including a Wall, is $25 Billion. Pays for itself in two months. Get it done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2018
“The President says he wants more,” Jones said. “He wants $5 billion. But one of the problems that we’ve seen with that is the money that Congress appropriated last budget has not been spent yet.
The White and Democrats in Congress remain divided on funding.
“People are standing firm right now on $1.6 billion,” Jones said.
Jones said the proposed spending difference isn’t worth the possible consequences.
“The government should not be shut down over about $3.5 for a wall that the President might want,” he said.
And Jones says there is money to spend.
“One point six billion dollars coupled with money that hasn’t been spent from last year is a lot of money that could get us a long way towards securing our borders the way it needs to be,” he said.
Jones also rejects claims Democrats are soft on border security.
“No one is for open borders, everyone wants border security we might just have a little bit different on how to get there,” he said.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to be the next U.S. House Speaker, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will meet with President Trump Tuesday on the budget dispute.