CNN Host to Dem Rep: 'Why Should the Republicans Give Anything if You Don't Think the Democrats Should Give Anything?'

January 10, 2019

Freshman Rep. Debbie Mucarsel Powell (D., Fla.) on Thursday said Democrats cannot "fund something that does not make sense" after CNN anchor Poppy Harlow questioned why Republicans should offer concessions in negotiations over a government shutdown deal if Democrats will not do the same.

Earlier in a "CNN Newsroom" segment, co-host Jim Sciutto argued "Democratic leadership is digging its heels in as much just as the president is," and then pointed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) saying "she won't even give a dollar to the border when in votes past democrats supported legislation that gave billions of dollars to the wall here."

Sciutto asked Mucarsel-Powell if she was frustrated that the shutdown negotiations and focus on border security were preventing the new Democratic House majority from enacting its agenda.

"Absolutely not. I'm not frustrated with my caucus. I'm extremely frustrated with the Republican Senate," Mucarsel-Powell responded.

Harlow pressed the congresswoman further on Sciutto's question.

"I want to get your answer on this because you just told Jim 'absolutely not.' Why should the Republicans give anything if you don't think the Democrats should give anything?" Harlow asked. "I don't understand that."

"Because let me tell you something. we have asked those questions, right? We have those conversations when we are all together in caucus, and I can tell you that the homeland security bill includes billions of dollars for border security. What we cannot do is fund something that does not make sense," Mucarsel-Powell said.

"We have talked to border patrols, and the problem is if we are giving $5 billion to something that is going to be ineffective, it's wasteful spending. That's why we have to be extremely careful that we do the things that are going to be right for the American people," she continued.

Sciutto concluded the segment by asking if Republicans had offered any "credible" deal exchanging wall funding for protection for "Dreamers," recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The Florida Democrat said her party would not ensure a solution for DACA recipients if it meant agreeing to wall funding.

"I haven't seen anything that I can tell you or speak about, but I can definitely tell you that it's a priority for us in the caucus to find a solution, but it's not going to be in exchange for funding for an ineffective wall. And I have spoken to Dreamers that have asked me not to do this," Mucarsel-Powell said.

Pelosi reportedly told the president she would not fund a border wall even if he ended the government shutdown, prompting President Donald Trump to walk out of a Wednesday meeting of congressional leaders.