U.S. Rep. Tom Graves issued a Twitter challenge late Sunday, urging the Democratic leadership in Congress to come to a compromise on border security, as hopes for an agreement dimmed.
The Ranger Republican who represents Northwest Georgia is part of a bipartisan team of negotiators trying to pass a funding deal by Friday — the deadline set by President Donald Trump to avoid a second partial government shutdown.
Graves tweeted shortly after 7 p.m., including the Twitter handles of Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former speaker John Boehner and former president Barack Obama.
"This week @SpeakerPelosi will face 1st big test in newly divided govt — can she pass a bill to keep our govt open that a #POTUS from the opposing party will sign? @SpeakerBoehner found a way to work w/ @BarackObama. Can she find a way fwd with @RealDonaldTrump? We’ll know soon."
The two sides remained separated by hundreds of millions of dollars over how much to spend to construct Trump’s promised border wall. But rising to the fore was a related dispute over curbing Customs and Immigration Enforcement, or ICE, the federal agency that Republicans see as an emblem of tough immigration policies and Democrats accuse of often going too far.
Predictably each side blamed the other for the stall in negotiations.
“We were, you know, progressing well," Graves said Sunday morning in an interview with George Stephanopoulas on ABC. "I thought we were tracking pretty good over the last week. And it just seems over the last 24 hours or so the goalposts have been moving from the Democrats.”
House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., countered by telling the same show, “The numbers are all over the place.”
“I think the big problem here is this has become pretty much an ego negotiation," Yarmouth added. “And this really isn’t over substance."
Negotiators have said that given the time required under House and Senate rules to pass legislation, they need to have an agreement finished by Monday to guarantee passage by Friday.
The president has remained insistent in his demand for $5.7 billion for border barriers, while Democrats, who now control the House, have said they will not offer more than $2 billion.
The two sides also disagree over the number of beds at immigrant detention centers. Republicans are contesting a Democratic effort to reduce the number of detentions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
On Twitter, the president implied that Democratic congressional negotiators were being prevented by their leadership, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York, from making concessions on what he called a “desperately needed Border Wall.”
“I don’t think the Dems on the Border Committee are being allowed by their leaders to make a deal,” Trump wrote.
Before the previous shutdown, the two parties did have an agreement, only to have it scuttled by Trump.
Republicans also continued to suggest that Trump might move to circumvent Congress with an emergency declaration on the wall, a step that would be certain to face a strong legal challenge.
Graves said on ABC that Trump was “right to have contingency plans" for moving ahead in the event of a continued stalemate.
“He’s going to have some plans in place,” Graves said.