Iowa GOP Sen. Joni Ernst said with just days remaining until the funding deadline for key agencies that she would prefer no government shutdown over President Donald Trump’s wall.
Asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday about the prospect Trump would refuse to budge on his demand, Ernst said, “I would rather that he didn’t.”
“But we also understand that our constituents have stated quite clearly that they want to see our border protected,” she added. “The President has been quite clear for a number of years. We need to do our best as well in Congress to make sure that we are protecting our nation and following up on the President’s promises.”
Ernst, who was recently named a member of Senate Republican leadership, said she hoped to see a path forward that kept the government running ahead of a December 7 deadline to fund the Department of Homeland Security, among other agencies.
“I do not want to see the government shut down,” Ernst said. “Again, if we can avoid that situation, we absolutely need to do that.”
Trump has previously floated the possibility he would let the government shut down unless Congress agreed to appropriate funding for his proposed border wall with Mexico, a wall for which, on the campaign trail, he said would be paid for by Mexico.
Trump said earlier this month that he thought it would be a “good time” for a shutdown, but added that he didn’t think a shutdown would “be necessary, because I think the Democrats will come to their senses.”
“I think probably, if I was ever going to do a shutdown over border security, when you look at the caravans, when you look at the mess, when you look at the people coming in, this would be a very good time to do a shutdown,” Trump said.
Congress averted a government shutdown in September by passing a massive spending bill to fund a large portion of the government. The package did not, however, include money for Trump’s border wall, and Congress passed a shorter-term spending bill.
CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.