The shutdown of the United States government has been averted. Is that good news or bad? It might depend on your perspective. An extended shutdown might prove that for the average person, we don’t need the federal government.
To avert a shutdown, the Republican party has jettisoned Trump’s Wall and his crackdown on sanctuary cities.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers forged a $1.07 trillion spending package that would fund the government through the end of September, but does not include some of President Trump’s cornerstone promises including funding for a border wall or funding cuts to sanctuary cities.
The proposed legislation has no funding for Trump’s oft-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but does set aside $1.5 billion for border security measures such as additional detention beds. It does give Trump a $12.5 billion down payment on his request to strengthen the military, a figure which could rise to $15 billion should Trump present Congress with a plan for fighting the Islamic State terror group. The proposed $15 billion amounts to half of Trump’s original $30 billion request.
Trump said at nearly every campaign stop last year that Mexico would pay for the proposed 2,000-mile border wall, a claim Mexican leaders have broadly rejected. The White House sought nearly $1.4 billion in taxpayer dollars for the wall and related costs in the spending bill, but Trump later relented and said the issue could wait until September.
With language about the border wall omitted, Democratic leaders praised the effort.
“The bill ensures taxpayer dollars aren’t used to fund an ineffective border wall, excludes poison pill riders, and increases investments in programs that the middle class relies on, like medical research, education and infrastructure,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., echoed Schumer’s praise, saying in a separate statement “the omnibus does not fund President Trump’s immoral and unwise border wall or create a cruel new deportation force.”
The White House also backed away from language to take away grants from sanctuary cities that do not share information about people’s immigration status with federal authorities.
The House and Senate have until 11:59 p.m. Friday to approve the bill, which would avert a government shutdown. If passed, the catchall spending bill would be the first major piece of bipartisan legislation to advance during Trump’s short tenure in the White House. The measure is assured of winning bipartisan support in votes this week, but it’s unclear how much support the measure will receive from GOP conservatives and how warmly it will be received by the White House.
Democratic votes will be needed to pass the measure even though Republicans control both the White House and Congress. The minority party has been actively involved in the talks, which appear headed to produce a lowest common denominator measure that won’t look too much different than the deal that could have been struck on Obama’s watch last year.
Bloomberg focuses on the nuts and bolts of the law rather than the politics of it.
GOP leaders eager to focus on health-care and tax overhauls bowed to Democratic demands to eliminate hundreds of policy restrictions aimed at curbing regulations, leaving the Trump administration with few victories.
The White House sought funding to begin building the border wall, as well as $18 billion in cuts to domestic agencies, and both demands were rebuffed. The spending deal includes money for Planned Parenthood, despite Republican demands to defund the group over its provision of abortions.
Trump will be able to point to a $15 billion boost for the Pentagon, although $2.5 billion of that money is contingent on the administration delivering a new plan to fight Islamic State. It also falls well short of the $30 billion he had originally requested.
Trump will get $1.5 billion for border security, but it can’t be used for the border wall or additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, according to one congressional aide. There are also no new restrictions on money going to so-called sanctuary cities that don’t fully enforce federal immigration laws.
Very disappointing, indeed. I think Paul Ryan is the culprit here. But it’s not a done deal. The votes may not be there for passage.
While Republicans control the House, Senate and the White House, congressional Democrats held some leverage in the talks because their votes will be needed in the Senate, and likely the House, for passage of the bill.
The Senate needs 60 votes to advance legislation, meaning the 52 Republicans will need help from at least eight Democrats.
In the House, passing a spending bill for the remainder of fiscal 2017 was always going to be a challenge. A solid bloc of fiscal conservatives regularly oppose big spending bills, and House Republicans have had to rely on some Democratic votes consistently since taking over the majority in 2011. Sixteen House Republicans on Friday voted against the one-week extension of current spending that kept government open.