Will Trump Shut Down the Government Over Wall Funding?


President Trump


President Trump has been ramping up his talks on the border wall once more as we approach the budget season. He has expressed frustration with his advisers about the lack of progress being made on border security and even blew up at his Homeland Security chief, Kirstjen Nielsen during a cabinet meeting last month, telling his advisers that the border remains too weak and isn't being worked on quickly enough.

“In the end, Mexico is going to pay for the wall,” the president told supporters at a campaign-style rally in Nashville. “They do absolutely nothing to stop people from going through Mexico, from Honduras and all these other countries … They do nothing to help us.”

Mexico's president, Enrique Peña Nieto, responded quickly to Trump on Twitter.

Government funding runs out at the end of September and Trump and McConnell are taking actions to procure funding for the wall in upcoming appropriations bills, not taking their usual August recess. The president has announced his plans to not sign another foot-tall omnibus budget and has sent a clear message to Congress: get your act together.

The question for many Republicans now is whether the president will actually shut down the government over funding for the wall. Something which Senator Heller is particularly concerned about.

If this comes to fruition and the president does actually shut down the government over wall funding, this could potentially affect the midterm elections. We saw the Democrats attempt to commandeer the narrative of the last shutdown, blaming Republicans for shutting things down while obstructing procedures themselves. They could easily and perhaps more successfully do the same thing this time around.

Worst case scenario, the Dems capitalize on immigration issues, (something they're already doing with ICE separating families) make a push, and actually succeed with a blue wave in these midterms.

Of course, this could all be avoided if Congress would actually pass individual appropriations bills and follow regular order. You wouldn’t know it based on the way contemporary Washington works, but there is, in fact, an official procedure for budgeting and appropriations. First, the president submits a budget request to Congress. The House and Senate Budget Committees then consider the request and draft budget resolutions with spending allocations for the various appropriations jurisdictions. Any differences between the two versions are resolved in a conference committee.

Once this budget resolution is passed, the next step in the process requires the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to determine how to spend the funds that have been allocated. Finally, both chambers must pass each of 12 appropriations bills, and the president must sign them into law.

To be clear, this hasn’t happened since 1997. For the past 20 years, Congress has been derelict in its duty to the American taxpayer. Instead, we’ve gotten continuing resolutions (CRs) – bills that blindly fund whatever was already being funded before – and omnibus bills – 1,000-plus-page, trillion-dollar-plus spending monstrosities that nobody reads (except for the lobbyists) and in which only a few very powerful voices get a say.

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