Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Sunday that President Trump should agree to nearly $2 billion as a “down payment” for his proposed wall on the southern border, as reports surface that talks between Democrats and Republicans on funding the barrier have faltered.
“If he can get somewhere near $2 billion, I would take it,” Graham, R-S.C., told “Sunday Morning Futures.” “And I would look to other accounts in the government that he has control over to build it out to $5.7 billion.”
While Trump has called for $5.7 billion, Democratic lawmakers have eyed a number between $1.3 billion and $2 billion. But the bipartisan talks have stalled over border security funding and the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
“Talks have broken down because Senate Republicans are refusing to compromise on limits to the Trump administration’s cruel immigration policies,” a senior Democratic aide told Fox News. “A deal that includes new physical barriers must also include limits on the number of ICE detention beds. If Senate Republicans won’t compromise with us on both, we can’t reach a deal.”
If the president and lawmakers fail to reach an agreement ahead of the Feb. 15 deadline, parts of the federal government will shut down, just weeks after a record-long 35-day shutdown ended, which was the result of a dispute over border wall funding between the two parties.
Still, the administration continues to stand firm on its promise to build the wall at the southern border, with Trump even toying with the idea of declaring a national emergency to begin the building process. White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told “Fox News Sunday” that the wall will be built “with or without Congress,” and that a federal government shutdown is still “technically on the table.”
“There are other funds of money available to him through what we call reprogramming. There is money that he can get at and is legally allowed to spend,” Mulvaney said, adding that some funds are accessible to the president even if he does not declare a national emergency.
However, Graham said Trump won’t sign any legislation that includes reducing the number of beds at ICE detention centers.
“I promise you this: Donald Trump is not going to sign any bill that reduces the number of bed spaces available to hold violent offenders who come across our border,” the South Carolina Republican said. “He can’t do that, he won’t do that and you can take that to the bank, I think.”
Fox News’ Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.