As the partial federal government shutdown has stretched to nearly a month — the longest shutdown in U.S. history — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi still has no intention of appropriating even a single dollar for President Donald Trump to use to fund new border barrier construction.
While Pelosi and other Democrat leaders may be holding firm in the standoff against the White House over basic border security funding, cracks in the unified facade are beginning to show among the rank-and-file of the Democratic Party. An increasing number of members have expressed their openness to negotiations.
Several freshmen members of the Democratic caucus have gone on record in a variety of local and national media outlets as supporting negotiations with Trump and Republicans to end the shutdown, even if that means compromising on the wall, Breitbart reported.
Cracks in the facade
Maine Rep. Jared Golden told the local paper in Lewiston that it was incumbent upon congressional leaders and President Trump “to stop hiding and show a little leadership,” and added that more members aside from the leadership should be involved in an effort to reach a bipartisan compromise.
New Democrat Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin told the Wall Street Journal, “There’s a number of us on the Democratic side who are quite concerned that we’re not working on negotiated positions and taking the bull by the horns and trying to think about what it would look like.”
Similar remarks were heard from Rep. Max Rose (D-NY), who told local media that he was “sick and tired” of the “brinksmanship” game being played with the shutdown. Though he seemed to focus most of his ire on the Republican-controlled Senate, he also noted he’d engaged in a “bruising fight” with his own House leadership, and said, “Let’s open the government back up and let’s get back to work.”
Another new Democrat from New York, Rep. Anthony Brindisi, told local media that he was already bypassing leadership to speak with other rank-and-file members across the aisle to find a solution, and explained, “I’ve been meeting with several representatives from across the country, both Democrats and Republicans.”
“And I’ve been trying to force leadership on both sides of the aisle to work out a compromise to this shutdown,” he added.
The people want a deal
Politico also provided a glance at several new Democrats who are breaking away from the unmovable stance of their party’s leadership in hopes of finding a solution to end the shutdown. Some are expressing concern over the bad optics of not supporting essential border security measures, while others simply expressed an openness to compromise — including providing funding for a border wall.
Democratic Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger said, “If I am getting comments and contact from my constituents expressing concern that the Democrats are not prioritizing security, then I think we can do better.”
On a potential compromise — such as border wall funding in exchange for legal status for the “Dreamers” of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program enrollees — Illinois Rep. Bill Foster said, “I think it’s something that should be in the discussion here, because things are obviously going so slowly.” He added, “I think this is ground that most Democrats should feel comfortable standing on.”
Georgia Rep. Lucy McBath, who has been spending time listening to her constituents back home, didn’t specifically say Democrats should offer border wall funding to reach a deal, but did say, “I hope that we can all come to a compromise because that’s the way things get done. If we don’t compromise, the American people are the ones who get hurt. Right now, they are hanging in the balance.”
Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer may want to stand resolute in opposition to the president’s request for border wall funding, but the rank-and-file of their party may not be so firm. Judging from these statements, they appear more willing to offer up what the president wants as part of a greater bargain … which is also what most Americans with common sense would prefer to see happen as well.