White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Monday advised people concerned about the government shutting down again in February to call their Democratic members of Congress and ask them to work on border security.
President Donald Trump signed a continuing resolution to fund the government through Feb. 15 on Friday, following a 35-day partial government shutdown. The impasse was over Trump's demands for congressional funding for a wall on the southern border, which Democrats refused to provide, and he got no money for it after the five-week standoff.
Sanders did not rule out another shutdown at Monday's White House press briefing, and a reporter asked her if federal workers should brace themselves again for missed paychecks.
"My advice would be to call your Democrat members of Congress and ask them to fix the problem, so that we don't have to continue having this process and so that we actually secure the border and protect American citizens," she said.
Sanders said Trump does not want another shutdown and encouraged Democrats to negotiate.
"The president doesn't want to go through another shutdown," Sanders said. "That's not the goal. The goal is border security … Ideally, Democrats would take these next three weeks to negotiate in good faith, as they've indicated that they would, and come up with a deal that makes sense, that actually fixes the problem."
Sanders said Trump had re-opened the government on the basis that Democrats had agreed to discuss border security measures. However, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) has said they will not agree to any money to fund Trump's long-promised wall.
Trump has warned he could declare a national emergency and begin constructing the wall without congressional approval, and Sanders reiterated that Democrats would get nothing they wanted if Trump were successful.
"What I do know is if they don't come back with a deal, that means Democrats get virtually nothing," she said. "This is a perfect time and the table has been perfectly set by the president in order for a good deal to come together, where everybody gets a little bit of something they're looking for."