By ROBERT ROMANO
Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has all but promised to block any continuing resolution due April 28 that includes funding for the southern border wall and $18 billion of offsetting budget cuts to pay for it proposed by President Donald Trump.
Speaking at a March 28 event organized by the National Council of La Raza, Schumer suggested, “Senate Democrats are prepared to fight this all the way.”
When asked if Senate Democrats would shut down the government over the wall, Schumer offered, “We hope our Republican colleagues work with us and not put it in.”
In short, Schumer is threatening to partially shut down the federal government in order to stop the wall.
And Senate Republicans seem more than willing to oblige Schumer. That same day, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) suggested at a Republican leadership press conference that“All of the committees, House and Senate leaderships, are working together to try to finalize the rest of the FY17 bill… My guess is that comes together better without the supplemental,” which Blunt said would be dealt with “at a later time.”
Just like that, one of Trump’s signature campaign promises is very much in jeopardy.
For, if the wall won’t be included in April funding because that might result in a government shutdown, then why would it be included in the Sept. 30 continuing resolution when the 2018 appropriations comes due?
Won’t Senate Republicans be frightened by the prospects of a government shutdown then, too?
And just what message does this send to Schumer? That he can strip out any provision of spending bills he wants just by playing the government shutdown card?
Just on Jan. 27, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promised that Congress would fund the wall, saying, “We intend to address the wall issue ourselves.”
Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning called the seeming capitulation to Schumer on the wall “extraordinarily disappointing” in a statement.
“When appropriators reveal their spending priorities for the second half of 2017, they will not have the threat of an Obama veto to explain away any aspect of the budget. Failure to fund for example the wall out of concern that it might offend Senate Democrats would be a slap in the face to voters who elected President Trump and gave Republicans majorities in both houses of Congress,” Manning declared.
Manning suggested that President Trump might veto spending bills that fail to build the wall: “Failure to include these priorities may back the new president into the uncomfortable position of having to veto GOP spending bills because they did not advance the administration’s agenda. If we continue on the same glide path as before on spending, we will be funding Obama’s priorities, not Trump’s.”
At the end of the day, it is Congressional Republicans who get to put legislation on the floor, not Schumer. Those bills might get filibustered and they might not.
But if the GOP never puts the wall on the floor, the reason it will not have been funded was because Republicans did not even try.
“They need to include the supplemental,” Manning said, concluding, “Build the wall.”
Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.
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