'The goalposts have shifted a lot on both sides': Top Dem on border security talks

Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., and Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., join "This Week" to discuss the ongoing border security funding negotiations ahead of the deadline to avoid another government shutdown.
5:41 | 02/10/19

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Transcript for 'The goalposts have shifted a lot on both sides': Top Dem on border security talks
We cannot definitively rule out a government shutdown by the end of this week? We cannot, and here's why. Okay. Let's say for the sake of this discussion that Democrats prevail, and the hard core lt wing Democrats prevail. There was a Democrat congresswoman who put out a tweet yesterday for $0 for dhs. Let's say they prevail and put a bill on the president's desk with $0 for the wall or a certainly low number. How does he sign that? White house Mick Mulvaney sending a pessimistic note there on the negotiations of a possible shutdown later this week. We are joined by one of the negotiators, Tom graves and the chair of the house budget committee, Democrat John Yarmuth. You heard Mick Mulvaney, and you heard the talks that have been broken down even though yesterday it appeared you had been zeroing in on a deal. What's going on? Yeah. Well, good morning to you. Happy birthday by the way, GE Oh, thank you. You're absolutely right. We were, you know, progressing well. I thought we were tracking pretty good over the last week and it just seems over the last 24 hours or so the goal posts have been moving from the Democrats and at the end of the day, we have an obligation. That's to protect our nation and provide the proper border security. As long as the goal posts continue moving, there is really no way we can lock in on an agreement. Where are they moving the goal posts? What I had heard yesterday was that there was sort of a tentative agreement there would be about $2 billion for both new border barriers and repair of old border barriers. They had come to some kind of an agreement on that. Is that not true? Well, you have heard that number. That's been reported. We have heard numbers like $1.3 million, and we have heard the initial report of $0. They are all over the word and it makes it really hard to put together a comprehensive solution set and we know that customs and border protection is ask it's not really what number am I looking for or what number is the president looking for? It's really what does customs and border protection need? That's trying to get to. Congressman your -- Yarmuth, you have seen Nancy Pelosi say, no money for a wall, but it appeared that there was some compromise consensus of coming around the idea that there would be more money for border security for barriers. What about that charge that the Democrats are moving the goal posts? Well, I think the goal posts have shifted a lot on both sides. First of all, the president at one point wanted $25 million and then it's $1 billion and $5.7 billion, and they came to the hill, Mike pence and Mulvaney and they said, we'll take $2.5 billion. The numbers are all over the place. I thine big problem here is this has become pretty much an ego negotiation. This really isn't over substance. What needs to happen is secretary Nielsen ne come to the hill and lay out her plans and be questioned on them so we can figure out and try to come to an agreement on what the necessary security provisions should be, and then we'll fund them. Democrats are always willing to fund. I was part of th of eight back in -- back in 2013 that worked on immigration reform for seven months. We had a $40 billion provision for border security in that, and it embraced all the things we're talking about. Barriers and drones and technology and personnel, but again, nobody's really done the deep dive on what is essential to secure our borders across Mexico and that's what we need to do. Congressman graves, the president has said he is willing to declare that national emergency if you don't come to an agreement. Is that something to support? I think the president is right to have contingency plans in place, and he has given congress time to do their work, and we have said just open the government and negotiations would continue and that effort has been there, and we don't really see I guess, something coming to a conclusion here in the next day or so. He's going to have to have some plans in place, but I'm really pleased with chair Yarmuth and I hope it's guys like and his leadership that can bring this to a close and that the president can sign. Some praise there, congressman Yarmuth. Both you and congressman graves were up at camp David with the white house chief of staff yesterday trying to talk about ways that you all can bridge the differences between the parties which seem so deep and you certainly saw that on display on Tuesday night. Do you see any prospect for that right now? You know, if -- if Tom and I and the group that was up at camp David, including Mick Mulvaney, were left to our own devices, we woulhave solved it in less than a day. If Mick Mulvaney were president, we could have solved it. The problem is just the same way it was in 2013 for us, we have people of good will and intelligence and thoughtfulness who actually can negotiate all these things very easily, but then the outside world intervenes and again it's not just president trump or Nancy Pelosi. It's also, you know, the right wing media, left wing organizations. We have so many outside pressure that make it very, very difficult for us to come to a logical compromise, and then sell it, and I don't know the answer to that, but we could have gotten it done this weekend. Let me ask you both quickly. Is the government going to shut down this week? Congressman graves?reason for it to. Speaker Pelosi has the ability to pass a funding bill that can get to the president for his signature. There should be no reason whatsoever. Do you agree, congressman Yarmuth? I agree with Tom. Yes. Thank you so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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