After a holiday season mostly spent tweeting angrily from the White House while big chunks of the government remain shut down, Donald Trump is having congressional leaders to the White House on Wednesday—but it’s not for a straightforward negotiation on reopening the government. Instead, the top leaders from each party in the Senate and House will be briefed by the Department of Homeland Security, presumably with the intended message being that it’s suuuuuper important to build Trump’s wall. On New Year’s Day, Trump tweeted that “Border Security and the Wall ‘thing’ and Shutdown is not where Nancy Pelosi wanted to start her tenure as Speaker! Let’s make a deal?” but he’s not showing signs that that “deal” would involve backing off of his wall.
Pelosi wasn’t falling for it. She responded by tweeting that Trump “has given Democrats a great opportunity to show how we will govern responsibly & quickly pass our plan to end the irresponsible #TrumpShutdown—just the first sign of things to come in our new Democratic Majority committed to working #ForThePeople.”
On Thursday, House Democrats plan to use their new majority to vote through measures that would reopen nearly all of the shuttered federal agencies through the end of September, at funding levels Senate Republicans have previously agreed to. Those spending bills contain scores of priorities and pet projects for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
The Democratic proposal holds out one exception: The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees border security, would keep its current level of funding, with no new money for a border wall. The plan would also extend the department’s budget only through Feb. 8, allowing Democrats to revisit funding for key parts of Trump’s immigration policy in a month.
Will Trump finally settle down and negotiate? It seems unlikely, but at this point even Mr. Art of the Failed Deal must be able to see that this is not a winning situation for him.