Still No End In Sight For The Longest Government Shutdown
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
President Trump has offered what he calls a compromise plan to end the partial government shutdown now the longest in history. He gets a $5.7 billion border wall in this deal. And in exchange, Democrats would get protections for several hundred thousand immigrants. Democratic leaders rejected the plan outright, including Representative Jim Clyburn who said this on "Fox News Sunday."
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JIM CLYBURN: I think it's a non-starter for him to ask for a permanent wall and for us to have a temporary fix.
MARTIN: Here to talk through all this NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley. Good morning, Scott.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: Does this amount to real compromise on the part of President Trump?
HORSLEY: The Democrats don't think it does. The president's plan would give Trump the full $5.7 billion he wants - enough to build a 230 mile section of border barrier. And in exchange, he is offering a temporary reprieve from deportation for both the DACA recipients - that is the young people who were brought to the country illegally as children - as well as several hundred thousand Haitians and Central Americans whose temporary protective status has been in jeopardy. You heard Congressman Clyburn say that's a permanent wall in exchange for a temporary fix. And moreover, Democrats say it's a temporary fix to a problem that the president himself created by threatening to rescind DACA and that temporary legal status.
MARTIN: OK. So assuming the Democrats stick with their position that this is a non-starter, what happens now?
HORSLEY: (Laughter) Well, Rachel, only Tony Romo can predict the future. But...
HORSLEY: Here's what we know. The Democratic House plans to vote this week on legislation that would reopen the government and does include some additional money for border security. Democrats are - but not a wall. Democrats want to show that their opposition to the president's wall does not equal opposition to border security. And then on the Senate side, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been largely invisible throughout this government shutdown, will suddenly spring into action this week. And the Senate will take up the president's offer. Here's Vice President Pence talking about that on "Fox News Sunday."
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VICE PRES MIKE PENCE: The Senate leadership and Senator McConnell have agreed to bring this bill to the floor on Tuesday. Congress will begin its work.
HORSLEY: Now, on the surface, none of this looks likely to produce a resolution to the shutdown. But the big question is, does the president's offer made over the weekend change the blame game? Up until now, in the public perception, Republicans and the president have been shouldering the lion's share of the blame for this government shutdown. Only if the president's offer changes that public perception will Democrats suddenly feel some new pressure to give ground.
MARTIN: Well, everyone's going to feel pressure as the shutdown continues because hundreds and thousands of federal workers are anticipating losing yet another paycheck this Friday, right?
HORSLEY: That's right. And if this drags on just for another day or two, that second paycheck is in jeopardy. You have the White House economists now saying that this shutdown is costing the U.S. economy a tenth of a percentage point of growth for every week it goes on. That means by the end of this week, Rachel, we will have lost a full half percentage point of economic growth. And moreover, the furloughed workers are going to be subtracted from the January employment figures when that comes out next month. We've had eight-plus years of uninterrupted job growth in this country. That could come to an end when the January job figures come out. That's a temporary blip because that'll be reversed when the workers get their backpay. But it will be a temporary stain on what has been a record run of job growth and certainly a black eye for the policymakers responsible for this shutdown.
MARTIN: All right, and maybe the economic impact is what will finally get Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump in a room negotiating. NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley. Thanks, Scott.
HORSLEY: Good to be with you, Rachel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.