Despite hopes being squelched that lawmakers would reach an agreement on a funding deal by Monday afternoon, U.S. Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY 23rd District) is remaining optimistic.
Negotiations came to a halt this past weekend, over Democratic lawmakers’ attempts to introduce a cap on the number of immigrants that can be detained within the U.S.
But a meeting has been scheduled for later in the day Monday where key lawmakers are expected to make yet another effort to come to a resolution over border security and get the funding deal approved by both the House and the Senate ahead of the Feb. 15 deadline, or risk the second government shutdown this year.
Congressman Reed does not believe it’s going to come to that. He also hopes that it doesn’t come to President Trump declaring a national emergency in order to get the wall built along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I’m not a fan of that, I understand the argument, but this is a failure of congressional leadership,” Reed said. “It’s Congress that needs to solve this problem and declaring a national emergency is not going to take care of it. This is going to repeatedly come up again and again and again.”
Reed said he has and continues to encourage the President to “force Congress to do its job,” and to “hold those negotiators in the room, keep the lights of government on, do it on a temporary basis if need be, but put the pressure where the pressure needs to be, and that is on congressional leadership.”
Reed also pointed to a “silent majority” of both Democrats and Republicans who believe “enough is enough,” but whose opinions are being stifled by the “extremists” in their respective parties. He called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to lead their parties toward the direction of compromise.
The congressman does not believe compromise should not be difficult in this particular case, because when it’s boiled down, everybody should want to achieve the same goal – keeping American citizens safe.
“Border security is not a divisive issue. We’ve made it a political issue,” Reed said.
In terms of what Reed considers a realistic solution, he said $5.7 billion for a border wall may not be the answer.
“I think there’s a reduced number there, and also a commitment on border security that includes more than just a physical barrier on the border,” Reed said. “What we’re talking about is technology, what we’re talking about is personnel, and not just at our border but also at our ports of entry because that’s where a lot of the drugs are coming in, a lot of the other threats to America are coming through, so we need to secure all of it. And that’s why the number is negotiable.”