LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The new congress begins Thursday, Jan. 3, with the ongoing partial government shutdown at the top of the agenda. However, Senator John Kennedy says there’s still no clear end in sight with the funding for the border wall still a big issue.
“Anytime you have a shutdown, that’s a failure of your representatives to reach an accord. So, it’s a failure of all of us," Kennedy said.
Though Kennedy said some blame could fall on Representative Nancy Pelosi, who will soon be the House Democratic Leader.
“The president has made his position known. I think a majority of the Senate has made its position known and that is that a border wall, barrier, whatever you want to call it, will make our country more secure," Kennedy said.
President Donald Trump asked for $5 billion for funding a southern border wall, but democratic leaders are only offering $1.3 billion for border security.
“The ball is in Mrs. Pelosi’s court. Now, if she passes a budget to reopen the 25 percent of the federal government that’s shut down without border funding, I don’t think it will pass the Senate. Even if it does pass the Senate, I think the president will veto it," Kennedy said.
Border security isn’t the only issue people are concerned about, many people rely on government-funded services. However, Kennedy said those people won’t feel the impacts of the partial shutdown.
“It won’t impact food stamps, it won’t impact folks who are on medicare, it won’t impact medicaid. I’m not minimizing the impacts of the shutdown, but, frankly, most people won’t even notice," he said.
As for those government employees worried about their next paycheck?
“Even those agencies that are technically shut down, many of—most of them—those are still open, because we require essential personnel to show up for work. They’re not being paid but we will work this out. Eventually we will—they will be paid, retroactively," Kennedy said.
Kennedy is optimistic the shutdown will end, but said Pelosi must be willing to come to the table to negotiate.
“We’ve had other shutdowns. It’s not something we should be proud of. But, the world doesn’t spin off its axis, and the sun will still come up in the morning, and it’s not the end of western civilization. We’ll eventually get this worked out," Kennedy said.