Rep. John Yarmuth, chairman of the House Budget Committee and a top Democratic negotiator on the border wall, told ABC's 'This Week' that "if Mick Mulvaney were president" a deal could have been reached during talks held this weekend at Camp David.
"If [Rep. Tom Graves] and I and the group that was up at Camp David, including Mick Mulvaney, were left to our own devices, we would’ve solved it in less than a day," he said. "And if Mick Mulvaney were president we could’ve solved it."
"The problem is… we have people of goodwill, and intelligence and thoughtfulness who actually can negotiate all these things very easily, but then the outside world intervenes," Yarmuth added, blaming the "right-wing media" and "left-wing organizations" for making a compromise more difficult.
"We have so many outside pressures that make it very, very difficult for us to come to a logical compromise and then sell it," Yarmuth said. "I don’t know the answer to that, but we could’ve gotten it done this weekend."
REP. JOHN YARMUTH, (D-KY): Well, I think the goalposts have shifted a lot on both sides. First of all, the president at one point wanted $25 billion -- then $5.7 billion, then they came to the Hill, Mike Pence, and Mulvaney, and said we'd take $2, $2.5 billion. So, the numbers are all over the place.
I think the big problem here is this has become pretty much an ego negotiation. And this really isn't over substance. What needs to happen is Secretary Nielsen needs to come to The Hill and lay out her plans and be questioned on them, so that 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 the Gang of Eight 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...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, get some praise there, Congressman Yarmuth. And both you and Congressman Graves I know 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 we certainly saw that on display on Tuesday night.
Do you see any prospect for that right now?
YARMUTH: 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 would have solved it in less than a day. And if Mick Mulvaney were president, we could have solved it. The problem is, and 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 pressures 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.