June 23, 2017

Trump's budget chief says money for border wall a must

23 April 2017, 03:15 | Leonard Manning


Majority Think Trump Off to Fair-Poor Start: NBC News/WSJ Poll

But failure to reach an agreement on spending legislation would risk marring the anniversary with a government shutdown.

While a government shutdown remains a possibility, it is looking unlikely.

"Everything had been moving smoothly until the administration moved in with a heavy hand", said Matt House, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Four in 10 voters rated congressional Republicans as generally bad, with 38 percent saying the same of Democrats in Congress. In the House and Senate, Democratic and Republican appropriators, who, despite ideological differences, are often united in their desire to spend money, were making steady progress. Another GOP congressional aide put the odds of government shutdown somewhere between 5 and 15 percent. And the great irony here is that the call for the government shutdown will come on-guess what?-the hundredth day. "I don't get it".

Federal agencies will run out of operating funds next Friday at midnight, so the massive spending bill is needed to keep them open through September, when the fiscal year ends. Due to their party's deep resistance to the proposal, however, this point could be a major stumbling block for Democrats toward passing a funding bill.

Congress is on a tight schedule. For now we need to find the money out of the discretionary spending pool. But the insistence on including many of President Donald Trump's priorities in the government spending bill has added some roadblocks to a bipartisan effort to pass it.

Get free real-time news alerts from the White House Patch. Another short-term funding bill would mean Congress still needs more time, even after these extensions.

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Another concern for Democrats is Trump's request for an additional $30 billion in defense funding. Although a unified Republican conference would not need Democratic support to advance legislation, some budget hawks are likely to vote against the deal, leaving the GOP with a narrow margin for error. The White House is pressing House Republicans to rally behind a revised bill so GOP leaders can schedule a vote this coming week that could let Trump fulfill a 100-days promise.

However, after a year and a half of insisting that Mexico would pay for the wall, Trump's demand that Congress begin funding the project with taxpayer dollars is not sitting well with Democrats, who nearly uniformly oppose the idea of walling off the southern border.

Mulvaney told the AP that border wall funding ought to be included in the budget because "elections have consequences" and Democrats "lost the election".

The problem is that most of those things will be met with a wall of Democratic opposition. It looks as though they're leaning toward the latter, which would result in an omnibus bill that's pretty friendly to Democrats. It's also bothering a fair number of Republicans who view the wall as more of a presidential vanity project than a serious element of United States immigration policy. The full House passed the climate bill after a bitter fight between moderate and liberal Democrats, but the Senate never took up the legislation. While it's hard to see how this would be good for the party as a whole, it's been more than a decade since Republicans held control of the government.

The White House has been pretty hands-off in the appropriations dealmaking process so far.

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