Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s budget chief, said the White House is offering a deal to Democrats on government funding: Money for key ObamaCare payments in exchange for helping fund the border wall.
“We’d offer them $1 of CSR payments for $1 of wall payments. Right now that’s the offer that we’ve given to our Democratic colleagues,” Mulvaney told Bloomberg Live on Friday.
He added that they had “finally boiled this negotiation down to” the border wall and ObamaCare’s cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments.
Lawmakers have a week to pass legislation by April 29 to avoid a government shutdown and appear to be increasingly at an impasse.
Pressed if the White House would accept “border security” funding instead of money specifically for a wall Mulvaney said he wouldn’t negotiate through the media but added: “Elections have consequences.”
“This president should be allowed to have his highest priorities funded even though the Democrats rightly have a seat at the table because of the Senate rules,” he told Bloomberg Live. “But you cannot expect a president who just won [an]election to give up very easily on his highest priority.”
The increasingly public battle over funding the government comes as the Trump administration is nearing its 100th day in office with few legislative victories.
Trump submitted a supplemental budget to Congress earlier this year that requested roughly $1.5 billion to help build the border wall.
Democrats have warned for weeks that they wouldn’t support a government funding bill that included money for the border wall, which they consider a “poison pill.”
“Everything had been moving smoothly until the administration moved in with a heavy hand. Not only are Democrats opposed to the wall, there is significant Republican opposition as well,” House said on Thursday.
GOP leadership had also previously signaled they were willing to leave out border wall funding in order to win over enough Democratic support to pass the funding bill. Republicans need at least eight Democratic senators in the Senate, and could need Democratic votes in the House if conservatives don’t support the funding bill.
But Mulvaney has repeatedly said that the Trump administration views the border wall as a top priority, as well as more defense money and immigration enforcement.
“We want wall funding. We want [immigration]agents. Those are our priorities,” he told the AP on Thursday..
Democrats, meanwhile, are demanding that ObamaCare payments to insurers be included in the bill after Trump floated canceling them in order to force a negotiation on healthcare reform.
Schumer told reporters earlier this week that Democrats were “very hopeful” that they could get a deal but warned the White House to stay on the sidelines of the talks.
“I think there’s agreement, quiet agreement in the four corners, that if the president doesn’t interfere and insist on poison-pill amendments to be shoved down the throat of the Congress, we can come up with an agreement,” he told reporters.