White House to ask Congress for $1 billion to begin construction on border wall
With the GOP consumed by its own divisions, the White House and Hill Republicans will have to rely on Democratic votes to avoid a government shutdown next month in what would be another disaster for Trump’s fledgling presidency.Republican leaders, wary of this, are considering a plan that would not directly tie the border wall money to the April 28 government funding deadline. Some Republican insiders worry that the president cannot afford another major legislative setback — and they believe a shutdown showdown would result in just that.While no decision has been made by GOP leadership, Republican lawmakers may decide to decouple the two to avoid a confrontation with Democrats. If they do, the chances of getting Trump’s wall funding passed this spring become slim.“It remains to be seen,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) in an interview. “What I would like to see is a plan for how the money would be spent and a good faith discussion about what border security is really composed of. We haven’t had that.”Asked about the prospects for a lapse in government funding, Cornyn was definitive: “There’s not going to be a shutdown.”
Congressional Democrats signaled Monday that they’re ready to block spending bills over President Trump’s planned border wall, raising the risks of a new government shutdown early in the new administration.Adding more immigration agents to Homeland Security’s deportation agency, making Planned Parenthood ineligible for federal cash and changing former President Barack Obama’s policies on the environment, labor, veterans or consumer protections would also invite a shutdown, Senate Democrats said in a letter to GOP leaders.Democrats are confident Republicans would shoulder the blame for a shutdown — though it’s a bigger risk for the minority party this year, when they have little control over the process other than the power of a filibuster in the Senate.“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,” the Democrats argued in their letter.Republicans waved the warning aside, saying they’re focused on trying to write the bills needed to keep the government open beyond April 28, when current stopgap funding expires.