Shelby: Democrats ‘just saying they’re against the wall’
While appearing on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo,” Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) spoke about ongoing efforts to reach a bipartisan agreement to reopen the partially shutdown government and better secure the nation’s southern border.
Part of the problem that Shelby identified is that Democratic leaders like Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have only said what they are against in a deal, rather than what they actually want.
“They’re against everything at the moment… I don’t think any of us know exactly what they want,” Shelby explained. “Right now, they’re just saying they’re against the wall and they’re against the numbers that we’ve put out… So, I haven’t seen the specifics of what they want.”
Alabama’s senior senator also said that he thinks President Donald Trump could declare a national emergency in order to build the wall, if Congress cannot pass legislation soon.
“I believe the president’s got a lot more power to defend this country as the commander-in-chief than people realize. He mentioned earlier today that he could declare a national emergency. Well, he could. And that gives him more power,” Shelby advised.
However, Shelby wants to solve border security – and the partial government shutdown stalemate – legislatively. He called this the “right” way.
“[D]o it through the Congress, through the appropriation process. Do it right,” Shelby outlined.
However, Shelby lamented that right now, Congress’ negotiations are not bearing fruit.
“[W]e’re at loggerheads still, we’re at an impasse. I was hoping that it would not be this way, but it is,” Shelby said. “We can settle it, we should. But this has become a political circus.”
He continued, “A lot of people, on both sides, are calling names and so forth. But what we need to do, Maria, is get together. We need to secure our border. I think the president’s absolutely right in this.”
Shelby called on lawmakers to “quit the political posturing and get down to rational thinking, rational discussions.”
“This could be settled in 24 hours or less,” Shelby added, “if we could get together.”
He said that the American people want and expect lawmakers from both parties to be able to work together and use the legislative process to find the best solution.
“They want us to do right. They want us to secure the border. They want us to fund the government,” Shelby outlined.
“We can do all this. We should have already done it,” he continued.
Shelby and the Republicans have emphasized that their priority in these negotiations is keeping Americans safe, and Shelby believes that everyone should want this accomplished as soon as possible.
“We have a Republican president, a Republican Senate and a Democratic House. But we all should put security of this nation first,” he advised.
“We all know – Democrats and Republicans – should know that we should secure our borders,” Shelby added.
He praised Trump’s focus on doing just that, adding that increased border security through a wall or similar method was a “long time coming.”
“I believe the president’s right. I believe the president has an obligation to secure the borders, secure the country. And I think he’s got a lot of power there, and I want to help him do that,” Shelby said. “But I also want to get the government back in order – we need to do this. We funded 75 percent of our appropriations, we could do [the rest] quickly or it could last awhile. If we don’t get together, it’s going to be protracted.”
“[W]e’ve got to get together and put America first. Put the wall – the fence, or the barrier, border security – ahead of [acting like] political opportunists,” Shelby summarized.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn