In Washington, the GOP is now ready to give a big down payment on President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico. This will most likely renew a fight that may just lead to a government shutdown this fall.
The House made a strong move as a sign towards getting Trump’s signature campaign promise funded. The House Appropriations Committee unveiled a bill to provide the finances for homeland security on Tuesday that equals the Trump administration’s request for $1.6 billion for the next year.
The money may not ever get out of the Senate door. Democrats are most likely ready to object to any government funding bill that includes money for the wall. And many Republicans are concerned about getting blamed for a shutdown.
President Trump and his budget chief Mick Mulvaney have said that they won’t cave on their plan, even if it means shutting down the government. The conservatives in the House are fully behind the president’s hardball strategy. “I am willing to do whatever it takes in the Senate to ensure President Trump’s promise to the American people is kept,” said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), a Freedom Caucus member who’s running for Senate. “I’ll aggressively oppose every single spending bill that doesn’t fund the border wall and expose every Republican establishment Senator who sides with the Democrats against our President.”
The showdown to fulfill the campaign promise of building a wall will be increased dramatically if the GOP fails to pass an Obamacare repeal and replace bill. Trump is still reeling for being portrayed as a loser in a standoff about the wall with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Mulvaney believes that a government shutdown may be exactly what the right needs to get what they want. And he is most likely making his belief known to Trump. In fact, the president tweeted, “Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!”
Mulvaney said that Trump is “willing to think outside the box and do things differently around here in order to change Washington. And if that comes to a shutdown in September, so be it.”
So the new homeland security bill proposes $1.6 billion for the wall and that exactly matches what the administration requested for 2018.
Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), the former chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said, “there’s no way” wall funding will get the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate this fall — just as it didn’t last spring. Carper said that most people who work in Homeland Security would prefer increased funds for other needs, not a wall. “They’re not telling me they need a wall. They’re telling me they need funding for these other things,” he said. Even the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, Joe Manchin (D-W.VA.) is not aligned with Trump on the wall. “It’s something I have no interest in. I just think we have so many other pressing problems and I think there’s other ways immigration needs to be treated.”
Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have said time and time again that they do not want to shut down the government. But no one may have a choice, depending on what President Trump decides to do with his veto pen.
What do you think about the likelihood of the wall making the 2018 budget? Will Trump prevail?