South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham pushed back against a suggestion on Sunday that the ongoing partial government shutdown is inflicting the most harm on the United States, saying that a “broken border” was the bigger issue.
In an interview with “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace, Graham, amid predictions that the current shutdown will stretch into February, noted that he’s “depressed” because he does not see a scenario where the Democrat-run House and POTUS Donald Trump can reach a deal acceptable to both.
“What are we supposed to do? Just give in?” Graham asked during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” Speaking of the president, Graham said, “He’s not going to give in.”
Wallace then asked Graham how much damage woujld occur if the partial shutdown were to last “for weeks.”
“Less damage than if we don’t fix a broken immigration system,” he said.
“You’ve got two bad choices here. Continue to stalemate and see parts of the government shut down. It will be inconvenient and it can create problems. And to the federal work force, I’m sorry you’re caught up in this mess,” he continued.
“But the real damage is people coming across the border, selling drugs, killing Americans — that needs to come to an end. So, the real damage is a broken border compared to a partial shutdown,” the South Carolina Republican noted.
“The president is not going to give in. No wall, no deal, but he’s ready to deal.”
Dozens of Democratic House members, meanwhile, partied in Puerto Rico over the weekend at an event hosted by lobbyists.
Over the weekend, reports quoted Graham as saying that he suggested to POTUS that he agree to reopen the government for three weeks before moving to a national emergency declaration, giving Democrats one final chance to reach a compromise.
But he told Wallace that Trump is firm about making a deal first that includes money for his long-sought border wall.
“Nancy Pelosi says, even if you open up the government, I wouldn’t fund a wall,” Graham noted. “So that’s why I’m depressed.
“You know, there’s not much talk about what she said. She’s telling the president, even if you open up the government, I’m not going to do a deal on the wall. And that’s a nonstarter for the president,” he added.
The senior South Carolina senator said he believes the president would agree to a deal that included both wall funding and a legal resolution for so-called “Dreamers” — those covered under DACA, the Obama-era program that delayed deportation proceedings against illegal aliens brought into the U.S. as children by parents.
“The plan is to do a deal,” Graham said. “He (Trump) is willing, in my view, to do wall-plus. Funding for the wall that we desperately need that’s been done in the past. See if we can do a deal around the TPS recipients who are going to lose their legal status.”
About 400,000 people are covered under that legal status, which Graham said they are going to lose very soon.
“He’s willing to extend that. The DACA recipients, they are all tied up in court, but I think he would give them work permits for three years, one-time renewable if you could get wall funding,” said Graham, noting that he didn’t want to “lock” the president in on anything.
“And a lot of Democrats — and I’m just so frustrated — we can’t get in a room and hammer it out,” he said, placing the blame squarely at the feet of the Democratic House leader, Nancy Pelosi (Calif.).
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