Mulvaney on Government Shutdown: The Ball Is in the Senate's Court

Reassures federal workers will receive paychecks on Friday

December 23, 2018

White House budget director and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on Sunday the ball is in the Senate's court when it comes to resolving the partial government shutdown.

"We have been talking to [Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer, the bill right now is in the Senate, the ball is in the Senate's court. Any bill that comes out of the Senate on this topic will have to have 60 votes, have to have Democrats' support," Mulvaney told "Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace.

Congress was unable to pass a funding bill to avoid a partial government shutdown on Friday due to President Donald Trump's insistence on $5 billion for his proposed southern border wall. Democratic leaders Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) have been adamant that they and members of their party will not support any legislation that provides money for the wall.

Mulvaney reassured that paychecks for federal workers will still be sent out on Friday and that if the government shutdown extends into the new year, then federal workers' paychecks could be impacted.

"A couple of different things, government shutdown on a Sunday anyway, they shut down tomorrow anyway because the federal holiday and then Christmas is another federal holiday, so Thursday is the first day this kicks in," Mulvaney said. "The paychecks will go out on the 28th. I want everybody to understand, no one is working without getting paid. The next pay period that is impacted is January 11. I think it's very possible that the shutdown will be on the 28th and into the new Congress."

Before the shutdown, Democratic leaders urged Trump to agree to a one-year resolution to keep border wall funding at the current $1.3 billion level or agree to $1.6 billion in funding. Mulvaney revealed Trump gave a counteroffer to Democrats that was between $1.6 billion and $5 billion.

"Let's look at it from your side: The president [wants] $5 billion. What's his bottom line? Does it have to be $5 billion? There was talk from Republicans who had lunch with the president yesterday that he might accept $2.3 billion," Wallace said.

"I'm not going to tell you what our bottom line is," Mulvaney said. "They are at [1.3 billion], yesterday. We were at $5 billion a couple days ago and the counter offer that we gave them yesterday was in-between those two."