'This is malpractice': Left-wing slams Chuck Schumer for agreeing to $1.6 billion for border security to avoid a government shutdown

Chuck SchumerChuck Schumer.Joshua Roberts/Reuters

  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is facing a backlash from progressive Democrats after offering $1.6 billion in border security funding in the spending bill. 
  • Progressive Democrats immediately attacked Schumer over his offer, arguing that he's too quick to acquiesce to Republican requests. 
  • "We didn't build a blue wave so that they could build a wall," one critic tweeted. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is facing a backlash from progressive Democrats after offering $1.6 billion in border security funding as part of a deal with President Donald Trump and the GOP on a government spending bill.

Schumer insisted on Tuesday that the money would not go towards the construction of a border wall or an expansion of detention facilities or the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. And he said his caucus won't offer more than the $1.6 billion, even as Trump says he would "totally be willing" to shut down the government beginning on Dec. 7 if he doesn't get $5 billion in funding for the US-Mexico border wall. 

"Our position has been clear from the beginning: Ds & Rs have a months-old agreement in the Senate. $1.6B for border security, NOT a concrete wall or increases in detention beds or ICE agents," Schumer tweeted. "We should stick to this agreement. If POTUS interferes, he is responsible for a shutdown."

Sixty votes are required to pass the spending bill through the Senate, so Republicans need Democratic buy-in. 

Progressive Democrats immediately attacked Schumer over his offer, arguing that he's too quick to acquiesce to Republican requests and that Democrats should flatly refuse to compromise on the issue. 

"The correct amount of funding for the wall is $0.00," tweeted New Yorker writer Osita Nwanevu, who also pointed out that Schumer was previously opposed to any funding for the border wall. Liberal MSNBC host Chris Hayes called Schumer's move "malpractice, politically and substantively." 

The American Civil Liberties Union also weighed in, arguing in a Tuesday tweet that there should be a public debate over how much border funding Democrats are willing to agree to and that there's "no reason Democrats should be giving in and allocating any funding for a wall, let alone $1.6 billion." 

Others held that Schumer is fundamentally misrepresenting the interests of a changing, increasingly progressive caucus. Some argued it makes little sense for the party to compromise on immigration when Trump's strategy of ginning up his base by fearmongering over the so-called border crisis was apparently unsuccessful in the midterms. 

"Schumer's problem is he is forever trapped in the mindset of a circa 2002 Democrat, where nothing the party believes in is supposedly popular and everything has to be offered on Republican terms," tweeted Oliver Willis, a liberal blogger and Democratic activist. "Of course it wasn't even true then. But Schumer hasn't learned and is the leader." 

Leah Greenberg, co-executive director of the liberal organizing group Indivisible, called the move "sleepwalking." 

"We didn't build a blue wave so that they could build a wall," she tweeted Tuesday.

When Schumer posted photos on Wednesday morning of his first grandchild, Noah, who was born this week, one commenter replied, "Congrats! next, ZERO money for Trump's wall."

This comes as Schumer's counterpart in Congress' lower chamber, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, is also facing pressure from a group of lawmakers who want fresh leadership in the body. Some Pelosi allies have argued that Schumer has received relatively little pushback from the left-wing of the party as compared to Pelosi - a discrepancy some attribute to a sexist fixation on Pelosi.

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