Donald Trump’s threat to shut down the government if Congress doesn’t funnel billions of taxpayer dollars toward his precious border wall isn’t playing well on Capitol Hill. Democrats said Trump might get his wish if he forces Republicans to include it in spending bills that must be passed by the end of next month to keep the government funded. The Washington Post writes:
“If the President pursues this path, against the wishes of both Republicans and Democrats, as well as the majority of the American people, he will be heading towards a government shutdown which nobody will like and which won’t accomplish anything,” [Sen. Chuck] Schumer said in a statement.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) played down the prospect of a shutdown at the end of September, telling reporters Wednesday at a tax policy event in Oregon that Congress will likely pass a stopgap extension of current funding — known as a continuing resolution — in the coming weeks.
Ryan would surely do whatever Trump wanted except that Republicans will need Democratic votes to pass anything through the Senate. They have sometimes needed Democrats’ help in the House too in order to overcome deep GOP divisions on spending levels. But Ryan also professed his abiding desire to ultimately lavish tens of billions of taxpayer dollars on Trump’s boondoggle of a wall.
“We do agree that we need to have the physical barrier on the border. We do need to have border control. We do need to enforce our borders,” Ryan said. “We completely agree on that, and we have been talking over the year, and the last few weeks, about how best to achieve that.”
That’s a shout out to the House crazies (i.e. Freedom Caucus) but good luck with those negotiations, Paul. Democrats aren’t going to go for it no matter how much the crazy caucus and Trump kick and scream. Speaking of which …
“We’re looking forward to working with Congress to get funding for the border wall,” White House spokeswoman Natalie Strom said Wednesday. “The President ran on it, won on it and plans to build it. Opposing the wall is simply opposing security for all Americans.”
Right. Well, Trump will presumably have the opportunity to exercise his veto pen should he so choose. When lawmakers return in September they’ll have about a dozen working days to pass what will likely be a continuing resolution at current funding levels just to keep the lights on. As for that Trump veto:
Last week, Goldman Sachs issued a research note estimating that there was a 50 percent chance that Trump could lead the country into a government shutdown.
“Low approval ratings raise legislative risks,” Goldman Sachs analysts wrote. “In the near term, we believe there is a 50% chance of a brief government shutdown, as the president seeks to solidify support among his base by embracing more controversial positions, despite needing Democratic support to pass spending legislation.”