Lawmakers have until April 28th to pass a spending bill that will finance the government through September – the end of the fiscal year. Failing to do so will result in a government shutdown.
Democrats are refusing to pass any legislation that includes funding for the border wall. On Monday, Trump seemed to suggest that he would be willing to postpone asking Congress to include money for the border wall in the federal budget.
“President Trump may be willing to wait until September or possibly next year to secure federal funding for his controversial border wall, a shift that could make it possible for Congress to finish work on spending legislation in time to avoid a government shutdown,” reports Bloomberg.
“Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall,” Trump tweeted on Sunday.
President Trump understands how bad it will look if we have a government shutdown less than four months into his presidency. He’s not going to give up on the border wall, but he doesn’t need for it to happen today.
Republicans are on the same page. “I wouldn’t risk a trillion-dollar funding bill for a $3 billion wall,” says Tom Cole (R-OK). “There’s another way, another time to get this.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says Trump’s shift in attitude is “welcome news given the bipartisan opposition to the wall, and the obstacle it has been to the continuing bipartisan negotiations in the appropriations committees.”
The GOP is still struggling to prove to the country that it can be a governing party, not just the opposition. A government shutdown would give Democrats all the ammo they need to argue that Republicans are unsuited to lead.
In the face of headlines claiming he has backed down on his demands for border wall funding, Trump has reiterated that he is not giving up on the wall. Some suspect that he will change his mind at the last minute and tell House Speaker Paul Ryan not to pass a budget that does not include at least some funding for the wall.
“Building that wall and having it funded remains an important priority to him but we also know that that can happen later this year and into next year, and in the interim you see other smart technology and other resources and tools being used toward border security,” said Kellyanne Conway on Tuesday.
While Trump’s intentions may be unclear, one thing is: any government funding legislation must be a bipartisan one. The GOP controls both houses and the White House, but needs some Democratic votes to pass the bill.
The Senate needs at least 8 Democrats to vote for the bill, assuming all Republicans are in agreement. The Dems “have a certain amount of leverage” here, admits budget director Mick Mulvaney.
In addition to erasing border wall funding, giving in to Democrats’ demands would also require Republicans to drop language that blocks funding for abortion providers and scale back the attack on sanctuary cities.
Meanwhile, Trump is also pushing lawmakers to design a new repeal-and-replace healthcare bill after the first one failed to pass in March. On Wednesday, he is expected to announce the general overview of a tax overhaul that has details already drawing opposition from the Dems.
Editor’s note: It’s not going away folks…