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PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — In a bid to break the shutdown impasse and fund his long-promised border wall, President Donald Trump on Saturday offered to extend temporary protection for young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. But while Trump cast the move as a “common-sense compromise,” Democrats were quick to dismiss it at a “non-starter.”
Trump declared from the White House that “both sides in Washington must simply come together,” adding that he was there “to break the logjam and provide Congress with a path forward to end the government shutdown and solve the crisis on the southern border.”
Hoping to put pressure on Democrats, the White House billed the announcement as a major step forward. But Trump did not budge on his $5.7 billion demand for the wall and, in essence, offered to temporarily roll-back some of his own hawkish immigration actions — actions that have been blocked by federal courts.
Local congressmen and women on both sides of the aisle from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware reacted to President Trump’s’ proposal.
Democratic Senator Bob Casey opposed the new plan, while Republican Pat Toomey was in favor of the proposal.
Senator Toomey released the following statement Saturday afternoon:
“President Trump’s request for $5.7 billion in border security funding is reasonable and certainly deserved a counter proposal, at the very least. But Speaker Pelosi has refused to negotiate. Now, President Trump is offering Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats a top legislative priority of theirs in an effort to end this partial government shutdown. The president’s offer, which is based on the bipartisan BRIDGE Act introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin who serves as the number two Democrat in the Senate would provide legal status to DACA recipients for three years. The Senate will vote on this sensible plan next week. Speaker Pelosi should allow the House to do the same.”
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez rejected President Trump’s plan, arguing that the government should be reopened before any talks about immigration reform begin.
Democratic Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester also disapproved of the compromise. She released the following statement:
“I was disappointed by the president’s announcement. A negotiation requires participation from all parties, an acknowledgment that opposing views exist, and a good faith effort to bridge that gap,” said Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. “It’s insensitive to ignore the sacrifice millions of Americans and federal workers are making across the country. It is my hope that we can start by reopening the government, so we bring stability back to affected families and then have meaningful and productive conversations about increased border security and comprehensive immigration reform. Responsible governance and effective leadership demand, at the very least, we do our jobs so that the people can do theirs.”
Senator Chris Coons shared similar thoughts:
“This senseless government shutdown is hurting millions of Americans, and its impacts are only getting worse. The President should re-open the government so that Republicans and Democrats in Congress can work with the White House to find a sensible solution on border security and immigration. I am confident that a reasonable compromise can be reached, but not while President Trump continues to keep significant parts of the government shut down and Leader McConnell refuses to meaningfully negotiate with Senate Democrats. “Some relief for Dreamers and an extension of Temporary Protected Status represent a first step toward comprehensive immigration reform, but more ideas from members of both parties should be taken up and debated. Republicans and Democrats stand ready to work toward a solution, but the fact remains that there is no reason to have large parts of the federal government shut down while we debate appropriate border security and immigration policies. “Next week, the House will once again pass legislation already agreed upon by House and Senate negotiators to re-open the government. The Senate should also pass those bills and the President should sign them in order to re-open the government and allow for robust negotiations on border security and immigration policies.”
(©Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)