WASHINGTON — Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, plans this week to bring up legislation that would immediately reopen the government — with funding for shuttered agencies through the end of the fiscal year — and incorporate President Donald Trump’s proposal to offer temporary protections to some immigrants in exchange for $5.7 billion for his border wall, a top aide to McConnell said Sunday.
“The legislation that the majority leader will bring to the floor this week would both reopen the remaining portions of the government, fund disaster relief, fund border security and address immigration issues that both Republicans and Democrats would like to address — all in one bill,” McConnell’s deputy chief of staff, Don Stewart, said in an interview.
In drafting the package broadly, McConnell hopes to put pressure on Democrats — who have insisted they will not negotiate with the president on border security until the government reopens — not to block Trump’s proposal. Stewart said the package would include seven appropriations bills that would fund agencies that have been partially closed for a month. It would also include billions of dollars in disaster relief, he said.
McConnell would like to see the measure pass by Friday, before 800,000 federal workers affected by the shutdown miss their next paychecks, Stewart said.
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Trump, meanwhile, defended his proposal to end the partial government shutdown, using his Twitter account to attack Speaker Nancy Pelosi for turning down the offer, even as Vice President Mike Pence appeared to open the door to negotiations over the plan.
In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Chris Wallace, the program’s host, asked Pence if the president’s proposal was a final offer. He hedged, saying, “There’s a legislative process that is going to begin on Tuesday in the United States Senate” — a possible acknowledgment that the proposal might be amended on the Senate floor.
“Does that mean that you’re willing to negotiate from what the president said, or is that the final offer?” Wallace asked again. Pence replied, “Well, of course. The legislative process is a negotiation.”
But on Twitter, Trump seemed to be holding fast as he took aim at Pelosi and pushed back against conservative critics who have described the plan as amnesty for unauthorized immigrants.
“Nancy Pelosi and some of the Democrats turned down my offer yesterday before I even got up to speak,” Trump wrote, in one of a string of morning tweets. “They don’t see crime & drugs, they only see 2020 — which they are not going to win. Best economy! They should do the right thing for the Country & allow people to go back to work.”
With public opinion turning against him, Trump offered a deal Saturday, saying he would extend temporary protections for some unauthorized immigrants if Democrats gave him $5.7 billion for the wall he wants to build along the southern border.
But Democrats have said the plan is a nonstarter because it does not offer a pathway to citizenship for the young immigrants known as Dreamers, who were brought to the country illegally as children, and offers only three years of protection from deportation. Democrats are demanding that the president reopen the government before any negotiations on border security.
“Nancy Pelosi has behaved so irrationally & has gone so far to the left that she has now officially become a Radical Democrat,” Trump also wrote. “She is so petrified of the ‘lefties’ in her party that she has lost control…And by the way, clean up the streets in San Francisco, they are disgusting!”
And to his conservative critics, Trump wrote: “No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer. It is a 3 year extension of DACA. Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else. Likewise there will be no big push to remove the 11,000,000 plus people who are here illegally — but be careful Nancy!”
Pelosi took to Twitter to strike back. “@realdonaldtrump, 800,000 Americans are going without pay. Re-open the government, let workers get their paychecks and then we can discuss how we can come together to protect the border,” she wrote, using the hashtag #EndTheShutdown