Schumer Threatens Government Shutdown Over Border Wall
Democrats flip sides on legislative tactics.
After Democratic lawmakers’ years of shrieking and televised temper tantrums over how shutting down the federal government somehow approximates treason, Democrats have suddenly embraced the tactic in their quest to keep the nation’s borders wide open for Muslim terrorists and illegal aliens.
Democrats are threatening to force a shut-down of the government after it runs out of operating funds after April 28.
Outnumbered in both houses of Congress, and facing a Republican in the White House for the first time in eight years, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats say they will oppose efforts to finance President Trump’s planned border wall in spending legislation needed to keep the government open for business. Adding favored projects to must-pass spending bills, instead of dealing with the projects as freestanding legislation outside the budget process, is a time-honored way of getting things done in Congress. Both parties do it when in the majority.
But Schumer is now a professional obstructionist committed to undermining the Trump administration so at long last he sees things differently.
“The border wall is impractical and unpopular,” said Schumer on Sunday, “a pointless burden that this administration is trying to pay for by taking money away from the programs that actually keep Americans safe.”
Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other Senate leaders warning that they will throw a wrench into efforts to appropriate funds for wall construction if the request is wrapped inside in a spending measure needed to keep the government’s doors open beyond April 28.
“Given these and other concerns, we believe it would be inappropriate to insist on the inclusion of such funding in a must-pass appropriations bill that is needed for the Republican majority in control of the Congress to avert a government shutdown so early in President Trump’s Administration,” the Democrats wrote.
Republicans would have trouble overcoming a Schumer-led filibuster. Sixty votes are usually needed to clear a spending bill in the Senate and Republicans control only 52 seats, meaning they have to win over some Democrats to get measures approved.
In the Democrats’ letter, the lawmakers whine about specifics of the border wall proposal. They say it “could cost as much as $25 million per mile,” which in the scheme of things isn’t a whole lot of money. “First, many experts believe that such a border wall will not work,” they wrote. “Second, there is real concern that the Administration, put simply, has no plan to build the border wall.”
They drone on in the letter about how eminent domain may be used for the portions of the wall to be built on land that is currently privately owned, where it will be placed, and how Mexico will be made to pay for it.
If only these trained left-wing seals in Congress had been as concerned about the good faith of the Obama administration during the Obamacare saga!
According to a summary of the letter,
Democrats wrote they are ready to start negotiations on a spending bill to keep the government open past the April deadline. But they expect such a deal will still respect a two-year bipartisan budget agreement to equally fund military and domestic programs. That agreement was reached in 2015 by congressional leaders and President Obama and is set to expire in September.
Meanwhile, President Trump is moving forward with at least the planning component of border wall construction.
Trump has already issued Executive Order 13767 on “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements.” The Jan. 25 directive targets so-called sanctuary cities that resist federal immigration law enforcement and orders that preparations be made for a southern border wall.
“A nation without borders is not a nation,” Trump said at the time. “Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders.”
EO 13767 acknowledges that “Congress has authorized and provided appropriations to secure our borders [and that] the Federal Government has failed to discharge this basic sovereign responsibility.” The order calls for the “immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border,” and directs the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to take “all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct” the wall using authority under existing law.
It is unclear what the total bill for the wall will be but at some point the Trump administration will need to seek funding from Congress.
According to a Fox News summary,
To build the wall, the president is relying in part on a 2006 law that authorized several hundred miles of fencing along the 2,000-mile frontier. That bill led to the construction of about 700 miles of various kinds of fencing designed to block both vehicles and pedestrians.
The Secure Fence Act was signed by then-President George W. Bush, and the majority of that fencing in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California was built before he left office. The last remnants were completed after President Obama took office in 2009.
The same order also calls for putting 5,000 more Border Patrol agents in the field and canceling “catch-and-release” policies for illegal aliens. And a separate executive order “calls for hiring 10,000 additional officers; restoring the so-called Secure Communities program and other local partnerships; prioritizing the deportation of illegal immigrant criminals; directing the State Department to use leverage to ensure illegal immigrants are taken back by their country of origin – and moving to strip federal grant money to sanctuary states and cities that ‘harbor’ illegal immigrants.”
President Trump has praised the Secure Communities program. Radical activists on George Soros’s payroll bragged last year about killing it during the Obama era.
And given the chance, Chuck Schumer and his colleagues will kill the program, along with any efforts to secure the nation’s porous border, again and again.