During a heated exchange with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) this week, Donald Trump proudly claimed ownership of a federal government shutdown that could take place later this month.
The president insisted during the White House meeting with top Democrats that Congress spend billions in taxpayer dollars on a border wall he repeatedly has promised would be paid for entirely by Mexico.
But on Saturday, outgoing House Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), argued it was incumbent not on the president, but on Pelosi, who is still the House Minority Leader, to prevent the Trump shutdown.
Schumer and Pelosi, likely the next Speaker of the House, had tried to steer Trump toward a compromise deal before funding runs out on December 21 for a substantial part of the federal government. Trump made clear that he wanted was willing to hold the country hostage to his demand for a border wall.
“I am proud to shut down the government for border security,” Trump told them. “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”
But perhaps Brady was not watching. In an interview with Fox News Channel’s Neil Cavuto on Saturday, the man who wrote the Trump tax law that helped propel Democrats to at least a 40-seat gain in the November midterms, explained his thinking.
“I’m not a fan of government shutdowns. I don’t think they achieve anything. I think Leader Schumer found out when he did this earlier this year how unpopular it is,” Brady began, before suggesting that Trump has already compromised greatly.
“The president has come down dramatically from his $25 billion-dollar request for this border wall to $5 [billion] and agreed to do it in increments. I think that’s important.”
In fact, Trump has not come down one penny in his request to have Congress pay for his wall — he has simply demanded that one year’s funding be included in any one year spending agreement.
Though Trump was adamant that he has enough Republican votes in the House to get his way and that the three-fifths requirement in the Senate was the only sticking point, Brady then tried to replace the responsibility for a deal squarely on the shoulders of Pelosi, who will not have the majority in the House until January.
“Incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in a pickle. Democrats who beat Republicans pledged to run a centrist, government-solution oriented Washington,” he claimed falsely.
“But for her to become speaker, she’s really sort of sold her soul to the most extreme elements, in order to get these final votes. And so she’s really in a pickle in trying to figure out how she can reach a compromise with the president here.”
“I think [Trump has] given ground, so in order to try to reach a solution. I hope that continues to be the way. But I do think it takes both parties to find some central common ground. I hope she reaches out and Leader Schumer realizes it didn’t work well for them either. So let’s find some common ground, let’s find a solution to secure the border,” Brady said.