The entire world knows that out of all the campaign promises made over fifteen months, Donald Trump is most closely associated with one policy — building a wall along the southern border of the United States.
You say build the wall to most Americans and they will tell you Donald Trump as the answer to which politician wants to do it.
President Donald Trump has included $3 billion for building the wall in the supplemental spending proposal that he submitted to the GOP Congress, endeavoring to keep his end of the bargain made with the American people.
Yet Reuters recently wrote that Republican Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), an Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman, about the prospects of including the wall in the April 28 continuing resolution, “said the must-do funding ‘comes together better’ without Trump’s additional request for the border wall and military programs and could be considered ‘at a later time’.”
Why the delay?
It seems that some GOP members in the Senate would much prefer to allow the Senate Minority to have veto power over whether the border wall gets funded or not.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has been direct in his threat to filibuster writing to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, “If Republicans insist on inserting poison pill riders such as defunding Planned Parenthood, building a border wall, or starting a deportation force, they will be shutting down the government and delivering a severe blow to our economy.”
In the wake of Schumer’s disastrous opposition to the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch, Mitch McConnell should go all Clint Eastwood on him and say, “Make my day.”
Schumer should be forced to shut down the government fighting the wall, and every one of his Democratic colleagues should be given multiple opportunities to vote on whether they will fund the wall or not. A narrowly defined fight where Chuck Schumer uses the power of the filibuster to shut down the government in the face of a President who uses his executive branch power to assure the public that their Social Security checks will arrive, the military will get paid and national monuments will be open would be politically disastrous for the Democrats.
Forcing Democrat senators from states won by Trump to walk Schumer’s plank on the wall with vote after vote, will erode Schumer’s capacity to lead moving forward. Whether Schumer temporarily slows funding of the wall or not becomes less important when the Republicans and President tell federal government employees who were laid off due to the Democrat temper tantrum, that they will not be paid for days not worked. Most of those workers will just convert leave time for the time missed and get paid anyway, but the message will be clear. If Schumer wants to put a gun to the head of the American people through the filibuster, the government employees whose unions overwhelmingly support Democrats will pay the price.
The dirty little secret of past shutdowns is that federal workers who were laid off, got paid for the time they did not work, so there was no downside for Democrats forcing shutdowns while blaming the GOP. Trump, McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan must change that, and once they do, it changes the political pressure points of the shutdown.
What’s more, McConnell should not allow Schumer the gentleman’s courtesy of relying upon a cloture vote as a means to not take up consideration of the funding bill, but instead should force him and his colleagues to physically take the floor twenty-four hours a day for weeks if necessary.
Of course, the media will play Schumer up as being heroic, but the GOP talking point is simple. We are going to build the wall and protect America’s security.
And in spite of all the media manipulation, the Democrat senators up for election in Trump supporting states like Montana, North Dakota, West Virginia, Indiana, Florida, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Wisconsin will find their political careers smashed against Trump’s wall.
Ironically, they might even stop the wall from being funded the first time, but once those federal employees don’t get paid, the wall will get funded in September, but much political damage will have been done to the hopes of Schumer to prevent a filibuster proof GOP Senate majority in 2019.
Of course, this all presupposes that the Republicans fight. After winning the bruising Gorsuch battle, it would be a shame to cede the momentum and ground gained by allowing Schumer to use a Senate procedure to stop the President’s signature initiative. The question for Republican Senators like Roy Blunt is simple, “if not now, when?”