UPDATED with more detail, reaction: President Donald Trump, for a second time in 10 days, addressed the nation directly over his border wall plan that has been blocked by Democrats, resulting in a government shutdown now in its 29th day.
On Saturday, he proposed three-year extensions to the Dreamers Act and temporary protected status (TPS) cases in exchange for the House agreeing to $5.7 billion in wall funding, among other immigration initiatives, along the U.S.-Mexico border.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in advance of the remarks that any non-permanent solution for DACA and TPS recipients would be “a non-starter,” making it likely the impasse — and the shutdown — will remain.
Speaking at the White House on Saturday from the Diplomatic Reception Room, Trump said his plan “solves the immediate crisis…and it provides humanitarian relief, border security and reopens the government.” He added that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will bring the proposal to the floor next week; the Senate leadership has previously said it would block any legislation regarding the border wall that Trump wouldn’t sign.
McConnell said in a statement released after the speech that “Everyone has made their point—now it’s time to make a law. I intend to move to this legislation this week. With bipartisan cooperation, the Senate can send a bill to the House quickly so that they can take action as well. The situation for furloughed employees isn’t getting any brighter, and the crisis at the border isn’t improved by show votes. But the President’s plan is a path toward addressing both issues quickly.”
Trump reiterated many of the same arguments he made in his first primetime address January 9 in the Oval Office. Covered live by all the broadcasters and cable news networks, 41 million tuned in then to hear his pitch that what he calls a “humanitarian crisis” at the border can only be fixed with a wall.
He said Saturday in remarks that lasted 13 minutes that “the good news is these problems can all be solved, but only if we have the political courage.” Trump added that would be the one to “break the logjam and provide Congress to a pathway to solve the immigration crisis and end the shutdown.”
His outlined proposals that include $800 million for urgent humanitarian assistance, $805M for drug detection at the border, 2750 new border agents/law enforcement personnel, and 75 additional immigration judge teams.
But that $5.7 billion for the “strategic deployment” of a protective structure on the southern border remains. It has been the sticking point on both sides that has resulted in the stalemate and the shutdown.
“It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-starter,” Pelosi said in a statement ahead of the remarks.