The Jury Talks Back

12/21/2018

President Trump And The Looming Shutdown

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 3:31 pm

[guest post by Dana]

It looks like lawmakers are at an impasse with regard to funding the Wall and preventing a shutdown of the government:

President Trump and Congress were locked in an impasse Friday over Trump’s border wall, hours away from a partial government shutdown and with no apparent path to prevent one.

Trump’s preferred solution — a stop-gap spending bill containing $5.7 billion for a Mexico border wall — faced near-certain defeat in the Senate, even after the president pressured Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to change Senate rules to allow it to pass.

McConnell refused.

“We’re going to be working very hard to get something passed in the Senate,” Trump said Friday in the Oval Office before a bill-signing. “Now it’s up to the Democrats as to whether or not we have a shutdown tonight. I hope we don’t but we’ve very much prepared for a long shutdown.”

And in spite of the the president’s call for McConnell to use the nuclear option, there just aren’t the necessary votes:

“The Leader has said for years that the votes are not there in the Conference to use the nuclear option,” said McConnell spokesman David Popp. “Just this morning, several Senators put out statements confirming that there is not a majority in the conference to go down that road.”

For more than a year, Trump has tried to pressure McConnell to change Senate rules in a way that would allow the chamber to pass legislation with a simple majority.

During the Obama administration, when Democrats controlled the Senate, Democrats changed the rules to allow most presidential nominees to advance with a simple majority of votes. During the beginning of the Trump administration, McConnell extended this practice to the nomination of Supreme Court justices, which proved crucial because both of Trump’s nominees to the nation’s highest court won approval by a narrow margin.

But McConnell has resisted such a change for legislation, as have a number of other Republicans, worried about the precedent it would set.

Last week, I posted about President Trump’s meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in the Oval Office, wherein the president claimed that he would assume responsibility for any shutdown that might happen. Moreover, he said he would be proud to shut the government down and that he would assume blame for it.

“If we don’t get what we want, one way or the other, whether it’s through you, or the military, or through anything you want to call it, I will shut down the government… I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck. …So I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”

It was a bold statement, and one he made without hesitation.

But as with most things said by this president, his brave claim should have been taken with a grain of salt. Because history has demonstrated that he will eventually contradict himself. Whether shooting from the hip, or talking to hear himself talk, or playing a game of one-upmanship, he will eventually contradict himself. Obviously this makes it hard to know what to believe. And that’s a big problem. While some of us might call these inconsistencies “flip-flopping” or being dishonest, his base defends these contradictions as clever political strategeries too complex for the hoi polloi to grasp. (Note: when Obama did the same thing, people on the right were quick to accuse him of being a dishonest flip-flopper and talking out of both sides of his mouth. And people were right in their accusations. That it’s Trump doing it makes no different. Or at least is shouldn’t, anyway.)

Predictably, Trump said the opposite of what he said two weeks ago. If the shutdown happens at midnight, instead of assuming the mantle of responsibility and not blaming the Democrats, he will totally blame them:

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Interesting note concerning the signature plank of Trump’s campaign platform and what his requested $5 billion would cover: “Department of Homeland Security officials told reporters Friday that the $5 billion in funds would cover roughly 215 miles of new wall construction in California, Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. In some cases, they would need private land owners to sell property to the federal government for the wall’s construction. If the property owner refuses, the government would consider seizing the property under eminent domain, a controversial tactic that would likely tie the project up in court for years.”

–Dana

1 Comment »

  1. Trump’s promise to build the wall was a key part of his campaign, but it was a two-part promise, the other part being that Mexico would pay for it. I kind of hope Democrats remind him of that part.

    A tax on remittances to fund the wall would be a good idea IMHO, and so would Ted Cruz’s proposal to pay for it via seized drug cartel assets.
    https://www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=3107

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 12/21/2018 @ 10:55 pm

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