Obligation and Executive Authority — GOP Congressman Tom McClintock
Rep. McClintock — whose political reputation is conservative, anti-tax and keen on limited government — represents California's 4th Congressional District, which includes part of Lake Tahoe in the north to Kings Canyon National Park to the south. He was recently reelected to his fifth term, besting Democratic challenger Jessica Morse 54 to 46 percent.
Asked about Democrats' insistence that President Trump should have found a way to get Mexico to pay for a border wall if he was serious about coming to an agreement on it, McClintock said Mexico footing the bill was "always an unrealistic expectation," as it's the responsibility of the United States and a "vital security interest" of our nation to protect our own borders.
He added that the U.S. seems to "have plenty of money to secure the borders of other countries," and that he remains astonished that "Democrats can't bring themselves to provide the money necessary to protect our own border."
McClintock said there is approximately $13 billion of obligated military construction funds available to the president.
"I think ultimately if the impasse continues, [Trump] will just to throw up his hands and say, 'We'll fund it through the statutory authorization I have to expend funds for military construction projects necessary for the defense of our country.'"
As to whether the TSA and the possible closure of airports is the lynchpin in this standoff, McClintock reemphasized that in lieu of Congress cooperating and working towards a compromise, Trump has "the obligation and the authority to pursue the matter on his executive authority as commander in chief."
McClintock admitted that while a comprise deal that reopens the federal government might not be the "best possible policy," it would be the best possible policy acceptable to the most people, and laid blame at the feet of Democrats who refused to accept an invitation to the Oval Office from President Trump last Tuesday to discuss the border wall.
"Our entire process of government is based on talking and negotiating and disagreeing and compromising," McClintock said. "But all of that requires that we talk."
On Tailspins and Scare Tactics — Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff
So are lawmakers and the White House talking to one another behind the scenes? Or is the dynamic as it appears publicly, like kids who have left the sandbox and aren't speaking?
Adam Schiff — who represents California's 28th District and recently became chair of the House Intelligence Committee — explained there is common ground on border security, but said that border security is ultimately just a "talking point" of the president.
Schiff insisted that Trump is "punishing the country" for his inability to glean votes for the border wall.
"It's intolerable," he said. "That's just no way to run the country."
Schiff also warned about the dangers of giving in, despite the fact that both Democrats and Republicans are "deeply worried" about the shutdown.
"I guarantee you if we relent on this, that will just encourage these kind of extortionist tactics," he said.
Schiff partly blames the extended shutdown on a public lambasting of Trump by conservative pundits who said the president was weak.
"Originally the government was kept open, and Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh complained and said the president was weak and that sent the president into a tailspin," Schiff said. "As a result, 34 days later [we've got] a government still shut down and ultimately federal employees having to struggle to put bread on the table and pay the bills."
On the $13 billion emergency military fund that McClintock believes Trump should and will dip into, Schiff was quick to say that tactic would fail a judicial test, and that the president should instead refocus his efforts on reopening the government and fostering an open, bipartisan dialogue.
"Ultimately [using emergency military funds] will fail, it will fail in the courts ... What the president ought to do is reopen the government," Schiff said. "We ought to have a debate about border security and we ought to reach a compromise with border security. We have been more than willing to do that. But if there are parts of that border security plan that don't have sufficient bipartisan support, then that's the way it goes. That's how our government works. You don't simply get to bring down the whole house if you don't get your way.
"Everyone realizes — whether they'll discuss it publicly or not on both sides of the aisle — it was a terrible mistake for the president to shut the government down to begin with."