Politics

Pelosi: Pass Other Spending Bills But Punt Homeland Security Funding

House minority leader prefers continuing resolution for DHS through fiscal 2019

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrives with her staff to hold her weekly press conference in the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:36 a.m. | House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, suggesting she doesn’t see a resolution to the partisan impasse over border wall funding, said Thursday she’d like to see the Department of Homeland Security funded on a continuing resolution through the remainder of fiscal 2019.

Seven of the 12 annual appropriations bills, including the DHS measure, are currently running on a continuing resolution that expires Friday. The House and Senate Thursday passed another stopgap to extend the funding deadline to Dec. 21. 

Pelosi said said her preferred solution for meeting the new deadline is for Congress to pass the six appropriations bills that appropriators have agreement on with a continuing resolution for the DHS measure.

The DHS stopgap should run through remainder of fiscal 2019, she said. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30, 2019.

Appropriators and leaders in both parties have said that border wall funding is pretty much the last item that remains unresolved in the seven spending bills Congress has yet to pass. 

President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans want a minimum of $5 billion for the border wall. Many House Democrats don’t want any wall funding, while Senate Democrats have said they’re open to the $1.6 billion their chamber provided in its version of the DHS appropriations bill for “pedestrian fencing.”

Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had been scheduled to meet with Trump on Tuesday to negotiate on the matter, but the meeting was delayed with former President George H.W. Bush lying in state. 

“We’ll meet with the president next week as we go forward to negotiate that,” Pelosi said Thursday. 

A senior Democratic aide confirmed that meeting will take place Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. in the Oval Office. 

The fiscal 2018 omnibus Congress passed this spring included $1.6 billion for border security that would have allowed fencing as well. A continuing resolution for DHS would authorize that same amount to be spent in fiscal 2019. 

Pelosi said she would not interpret a DHS CR as allowing for continued construction of the border wall, saying the language does not provide for that.

“It’s immoral still, and we’re not going to pay for it,” Pelosi said. 

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